Ilkay Gundogan relishing prospect of facing Arsenal and Stoke

Germany's Ilkay Gundogan

The new Manchester City signing is looking forward to coming up against compatriot and friend Mesut Özil, but also, surprisingly, to facing Stoke City.

Germany's Ilkay GundoganGundogan is looking forward to facing Stoke

Ilkay Gundogan has told the Daily Mail that he is most looking forward to facing Arsenal and his friend Mesut Özil, as well as the enticing prospect of a trip to Stoke City next season.

The German midfielder became Pep Guardiola’s first summer signing at the Etihad Stadium, joining from Borussia Dortmund for a fee thought to be in the region of £21 million.

And Gundogan, while looking forward of course to the Manchester derbies next season, expects the Premier League to be an all new experience for him, underpinned by facing sides like Mark Hughes’ Stoke side.

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil warms up before the matchGundogan is relishing the prospect of facing his friend Mesut Özil

When asked about his most anticipated fixtures for next season, Gundogan said “Of course, the derby. Also, the games against Arsenal will be interesting against my friend Mesut Özil.

"These two games will be really nice, but also the total experience of Premier League - clubs like Stoke City, who are not so far away.

"It will be a really nice experience. It is all new motivation and I am looking forward to it."

Stoke manager Mark Hughes gestures towards Geoff CameronEnticing: Mark Hughes' Stoke City, apparently

The Manchester derby next season will take on a whole new dimension with two known rivals taking their seats in opposite dugouts, with Guardiola and José Mourinho set to renew hostilities in the North West.

Josep Guardiola - FC Barcelona Coach and Jose Mourinho - Real Madrid CoachBack together - Mourinho and Guardiola

Gundogan will be hoping the first of those competitive encounters will not come before he returns to full fitness, as the play-maker is recovering from a knee injury that will keep him out until at least the end of August – meaning he will miss City’s opening fixtures.

The injury has also ruled him out of this summer’s European Championships with Germany, who got off to a winning start on Sunday night when they beat Ukraine 2-0.

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