Ilkay Gundogan has confirmed that he is set to feature at the weekend for Dortmund.
Manchester United have been heavily linked with a move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan over the past 18 months - and with good reason, he is a superb midfield option linked at a fee in the region of £25 million.
However an immediate deal for the player is never going to happen. In April the German international has signed a contract extension until 2016 with the club - ensuring that for now he will remain a Borussia Dortmund player - despite admitting in the past his ‘dream’ of playing for United.
But no matter how interested they were in his signature it has never been on the cards - as Gundogan’s season has been blighted by persistent injury problems.
He picked up a back injury in the opening game of the 2013-14 season against FC Augsburg - meaning he only played 57 minutes of football this season.
A January comeback for the player failed to materialise after another nerve problem in his back and his season was over soon after. Gundogan has also struggled to maintain his fitness with a lack of exercise caused by the back pain.
He underwent 'career saving' spinal surgery in the summer and took to the field this week for the first time in over a year - playing in a reserve team game this week.
Now he has been speaking about his comeback - insisting he is now back for good.
He told Sky Sports in Germany:
"I think that I am available for first-team selection again from here on. The plan was to get in some training hours during the international break and make another step forward in a friendly game. I will be part of the squad again from the point that everybody returns from the international break. This weekend’s match versus Koln should be that moment.
“So long as nothing out of the ordinary happens, I expect to be part of the match squad versus Koln.”
His return will of course peak the interest of United and other interested parties - who will hope to see him back to his best and on the transfer market once again very soon.
But immediately it is better news for Dortmund. Jurgen Klopp's side has been decimated by injuries - which has seen them struggle in the Bundesliga this season.
Gundogan's return will help alleviate that struggle.