Ilkay Gundogan has been in brilliant form for Manchester City.
The central midfielder has managed to ally goals to his all-round positional sense and eye for a pass.
This season, with City strolling their way to a 10-point advantage at the top of the league (prior to the clash with West Ham), Gundogan has scored 11 goals in 19 Premier League games, while also providing two assists.
Those are the numbers of a striker, not a 30-year-old central midfielder.
He has been key for Pep Guardiola’s men, then, as they have established a firm grip on the Premier League trophy.
But he could have been playing for Manchester United.
The Germany international has revealed that City’s fierce rivals were interested in signing him from Borussia Dortmund around the time they signed Shinji Kagawa.
Kagawa moved in summer 2012, and it is little surprise Dortmund gave the approach for Gundogan short shrift, as he had only been at Signal Iduna Park for a season.
Speaking to Sky Sports, as quoted by the Daily Mirror, he said: “It’s kind of true. There were talks. I think that was at least two or three years before I joined City when I was playing at Borussia Dortmund.
“One team-mate of mine, Shinji Kagawa, went to Man United and someone told me they came to a few games to watch him before they bought him.
“Then I took their attention but it never really went into advanced talks because Borussia Dortmund made quite early clear that they are not willing to sell me.
“I had also a few years left on my contract so there was not really a point to talk to anyone at that moment. So yeah in the end it didn’t happen.”
Kagawa only spent two years at United and Gundogan says he has no regrets over how his own career has turned out.
He added: “I’m very happy [to have joined City in the end]. I believe that everything happens for a reason. If I could change anything in my career, I wouldn’t. I’m just proud of where I came to and I’m really enjoying my time here.
“At the end, we all live for these kinds of rivalries in the city. So I also appreciate what Manchester United has done over the last few years and I enjoy playing against them, enjoy being in the same city as them because that’s what football is about.”
GIVEMESPORT’S Harry Sherlock says…
This is really just a case of poor timing.
Dortmund had only just brought Gundogan into the club and they were clearly in no mood to give him up after a season.
That makes total sense, but less explainable is the fact United didn’t try to go back in the following summer, especially given Paul Scholes retired around the same time and his replacement ended up being Marouane Fellaini.
Gundogan, after all, played a key role in Dortmund reaching the Champions League final and would surely have been a more acquirable asset the following year.
Instead, United stuck with Kagawa, who flopped at Old Trafford, and are now watching on as the German tears up the Premier League.
City only paid around £20m to sign him, too, which is surely just salt in United’s wounds.News Now - Sport News