Arsenal are ready to go head-to-head with Manchester United for the signature of Ilkay Gundogan this summer after the Borussia Dortmund midfielder confirmed earlier on Thursday that he won't be signing a contract extension at Signal Iduna Park.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is happy to meet the £20 million valuation placed on the Germany international's head, as the Bundesliga giants prepare to cash in on the 24-year-old, who has just over 12 months to run on his existing deal.
The contract rebel has been stalling on a renewal for some time, but finally informed senior officials at Dortmund of his intention to follow manager Jurgen Klopp out of the Westfalenstadion at the end of the season.
The latest developments will be welcomed by Gundogan's Premier League suitors, who have been linked with the former Nuremberg star for quite some time. Arsenal made an enquiry for his services in the January transfer window, and have kept him on their list of prospective midfield targets for the summer.
Francis Coquelin's recent rise to prominence at the Emirates Stadium means Wenger is not in quite so desperate need for another reinforcement, but he does still want to add a more dynamic player to partner the young Frenchman in the middle.
Gundogan's combination of tenacity and creativity makes him exactly the type of player that the veteran tactician is after in north London, which could prompt the departure of defensive midfielder Mathieu Flamini at the end of the season.
Mikel Arteta's role in the first-team is likely to be affected as well, with the Spaniard set to be marginalised even though he'll get a new 12 month contract. Wenger wants to keep his current captain for his experience, but has warned him he is no longer guaranteed a regular place in the side.
As for Manchester United, Louis van Gaal is still set on bringing the want-away Dortmund ace to Old Trafford, but now that he knows Arsenal have joined the race for the player he might have to consider alternative options for his Red Devils squad next season.
Who do you think has a better chance of signing Ilkay Gundogan this summer - Arsenal or Manchester United? Have your say below...
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