Technically-adept midfield passer Ilkay Gundogan, 23, has long attracted the interest of Manchester United and Arsenal, who were both linked with making official bids for the player during the summer market, however, La Liga table toppers Barcelona are rumoured to be looking into the possibility of adding him to their playing roster having already made attempts to acquire his international team-mate Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Gundogan has a transfermarkt.co.uk valuation of £25m and is widely revered for his visionary ability in midfield, the array of passes he can pick, his dribbling skills and his distance shooting. Considering the dearth in quality of this type of player in United's squad, he could be David Moyes' missing link when the mid-season transfer window opens for trading.
Both United and Arsenal, though, are set to miss out on Gundogan as, according to Spanish journal AS and British press The Express, Barcelona could play the trump card of building Gundogan up as the 'next Xavi', a still-playing pitch legend with a metronomic passing style, seven La Liga titles, three Champions League winner's medals, 130 international caps, a UEFA European Championship and a FIFA World Cup.
Xavi, still effective as a first-teamer, is 33-years-old and Barcelona may now be looking for his heir. Andoni Zubizarreta, Barcelona sporting director, is alleged by AS to have traveled to Germany in order to discuss the signing of Gundogan.
While his valuation is perceived to be £25m, that figure could rise significantly in the coming months as, aside from the Premier League interest, Real Madrid are also reportedly keen on making a contractual commitment to the Bundesliga star. With neither La Liga team wanting to lose face to the Spanish media, or to their fans, both may become embroiled in a dear bidding war.
image: © jeroen_bennink