Ilkay Gundogan is free of the back problems which have plagued him since August 2013 and is starting to look more like his old self.
Borussia Dortmund are delighted to have the midfielder back at their disposal and will be wary of asking too much of him too soon.
It may be difficult to keep the 24-year-old on a tight leash, though, as he has slotted seamlessly back into the fold with the Bundesliga outfit.
His performance against Anderlecht in the Champions League on Tuesday was the latest in a string of impressive continental outings this season.
It is on that stage that he has been able to catch the eye and spark renewed talk of a possible big-money move to Manchester United.
|Team||Match||Total Pass||Accurate Pass||Fwd Pass||Touches||Mins Played|
|Ilkay Gündogan||Dortmund||Dortmund vs Anderlecht||112||104||38||126||66|
|Ilkay Gündogan||Dortmund||Arsenal vs Dortmund||98||86||28||124||90|
|Ilkay Gündogan||Dortmund||Galatasaray vs Dortmund||23||21||12||25||21|
|Ilkay Gündogan||Dortmund||Dortmund vs Galatasaray||17||17||5||18||27|
He is clearly comfortable on the ball and rarely squanders possession.
Gundogan is most comfortable when keeping play ticking over in the middle of the park, but he is also prepared to look forward when the opportunity arises and seek out a killer pass.
To put his numbers into some sort of perspective, here are Carrick’s Premier League statistics in the same areas.
|Match||Total Pass||Accurate Pass||Fwd Pass||Touches||Mins Played|
|Michael Carrick||Man Utd vs Hull City||117||108||36||125||90|
|Michael Carrick||Man Utd vs C. Palace||107||95||34||120||90|
|Michael Carrick||Man Utd vs Stoke||90||85||25||93||90|
|Michael Carrick||Southampton vs Man Utd||37||32||13||44||90|
|Michael Carrick||Arsenal vs Man Utd||24||19||8||39||90|
|Michael Carrick||Man City vs Man Utd||21||17||7||30||47|
Gundogan would not come cheap were United to make their move, having penned a contract extension in April, and they would not be the only ones looking to snap up one of European football’s top playmakers were he to become available.
He would, however, represent a sound investment for the present and future, with Carrick on hand to help steer him through his early days in England.