Ilkay Gundogan came "close" to joining Manchester United last summer

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Following an underwhelming season where Manchester City stumbled to a top-four finish in the Premier League, it was widely believed an overhaul was needed at the Etihad.

Sloppy in defence and slow in midfield, the Citizens' weaknesses were exposed throughout the campaign to the point where a change in management seemed the solution.

Pep Guardiola was announced as Manuel Pellegrini's successor in February to everyone's surprise, with wholesale change anticipated upon his eventual arrival.


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And the Spaniard - so far - has done just that in securing Ilkay Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund for £20 million last month, with numerous other signings seemingly in the pipeline.

Yet it all could have been so different where Gundogan is concerned, after the German revealed he came "close" to signing for Manchester United last year.

In an interview with Sport360, he said: "Maybe last year it was close, but not everything happened like I wanted it to.

"Maybe it was not the right moment and at the end we decided to stay and renew my contract, to extend for one more year.

“We always had the conversation with Dortmund and agreed that if I left, I will not leave for free, for zero. So I renewed my contract and now this year everyone is lucky and happy how it came to an end.”

How United fans will wish a move had gone through.

Nevertheless, great things are expected of Gundogan following five prosperous years at the Westfalenstadion.

After completing a move from FC Nurnberg in 2011, the Germany international established himself as one of Europe's highest-rated box-to-box midfielders.

Should he live up to his potential in Manchester, £20 million will prove an absolute bargain.

Gundogan continued to reveal former manager Jurgen Klopp played an important role in his England move.

"Of course I talked to Klopp," he added. "I asked if I would fit in the Premier League and he said ‘definitely, definitely yes’. He wishes me the best and me also for him.

"He wishes me the best and me also for him. The Premier League is a really, really big competition."

As mentioned, further arrivals are expected at the Etihad with John Stones rumoured to join this summer.

City have been linked with the England youngster since the turn of the year and, after Stones reportedly told Everton he wants a transfer to Guardiola's side, a deal in the region of £50 million appears likely.

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Wayne Rooney
Ilkay Gundogan
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