After a third successive defeat in Michael Carrick's absence, questions will be asked of Manchester United's future without their veteran midfielder.
Presumably Louis van Gaal has a plan to replace the ex-Tottenham man, but whether his predecessor is already within the Old Trafford ranks is yet to be seen.
Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan is one of few players capable of replacing the United fan favourite. The 24-year-old looks certain to leave his current club this summer, after it was confirmed by the Daily Mail that he will not be signing a new contract, and he could prove the answer to the Red Devils' holding-midfield frailties.
Although he is best known for operating in the same space as Ander Herrera, Gundogan has shown that he can sit deeper when required. He’s solid defensively, and possesses a fantastic knack when it comes to reading the game. The only concern is the potential limitation of his creative ability when asking him to play in a deeper role.
|Passes per Game||Passing Accuracy (%)||Key Passes per Game||Shots per Game||Shot Accuracy (%)||Interceptions per Game||Tackles per Game||Aerial Duels Won per Game||Appearances||Mins Played|
The statistics suggest Gundogan is fully capable of replacing Carrick in the Red Devils' midfield. Having averaged 1.65 interceptions and 1.40 tackles per match, as well as averaging 65.55 passes - with an completion rate of 85% - he has clear ability when it comes down to halting opposition attacks and recycling possession.
He would also offer a great deal going forward - the ability to unlock a defence, so to speak - and has regularly shown his quality in the final third. Throughout Dortmund's Bundesliga campaign he has fashioned 1.15 key passes per appearance, while averaging 1.85 attempts at goal; 48% of which have proven accurate.
Gundogan's contract situation at Dortmund could prove a blessing for Louis van Gaal as the Dutchman looks to replace an invaluable asset .10 years the Englishman's junior, he looks the perfect man to fill the holding-midfield void that will be left by Carrick's eventual retirement.