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 available for an apparent 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.
Now he has got stuck back in to the real thing.
While his teams woeful Bundesliga form continued with a 2-1 defeat against FC Koln, Gundogan started the game - playing 89 minutes before leaving the field of play.
His passing looked to be in top form, while his movement was certainly not as stilted as expected. In general he looked much the same of the Gundogan that last kicked a ball in anger - a whopping 435 days ago!
Here are some of the pics of him in action in his long awaited comeback from injury.