£16 million Gundogan gamble could pay off for Manchester United this January

Ilkay Gundogan warming up for Germany

Recent reports suggest Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan could be available to Manchester United for as little as £16 million this January.

Manchester United have been handed a major boost in the chase for Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan, following claims that the highly-coveted midfielder is ready to leave the club at the end of his contract next summer.

The 24-year-old has made no secret of his desire to move to the Premier League and Louis van Gaal, coincidentally, wants the German international in order to bolster his squad.

With reports from the player's native country suggesting that he is unlikely to extend his current deal at Dortmund, the Red Devils could finally land their man.

Rather than allow the midfielder to leave for free next summer, understandably, Dortmund are preparing to make a sale while they can still demand a reasonable fee for his services.

The Daily Express claims that a £16million bid from Manchester United either this month or in the summer will be enough to get the deal done.

The one concern for the Red Devils will be the player's recent injury, especially considering the current queue for the treatment table at Old Trafford. It is well known that due to his back injury, which kept him sidelined for an incredible 14 months, Gundogan has been restricted to just nine Bundesliga appearances in the past two seasons.

While the general consensus at the club suggests Roma's Kevin Strootman is the priority midfield target, having only just returned to full fitness himself and with the capital outfit just a single point behind league leaders Juventus, he could be looking to see out the remainder of the current campaign in Italy. 

While Strootman poses a genuine attacking threat, Gundogan's work-rate and distribution are his key traits - enabling him to control the midfield from deep. He is a great passer of the ball and an excellent dribbler, but he is also more than capable of fulfilling his defensive duties; closing down the opposition effectively and winning the ball back for his team.

The German international operates most efficiently as a deep-lying playmaker, a position in which his rather unique skill set makes him one of the most complete players in the world. It was this combination of technique, intelligence and a relentless work-rate that saw him perform head and shoulders over the continent's very best in Dortmund's Champions League runners-up campaign two seasons ago.

It now remains to be seen whether van Gaal considers Gundogan enough of a priority to make a bid in January or whether he's willing to wait until the summer before reassessing United's situation. At just 24 years of age, if Gundogan is able to regain the form we witnessed during his heyday at Dortmund, he would be a fantastic winter addition. 

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