Saturday 25 April 2015

Profile: Ilkay Gundogan

With the Reds seemingly on the verge of signing Ilkay Gundogan from Dortmund for £21million and a deal expected in the next 24 hours, we take a look at the career of our newest recruit.

A 24-year old German of Turkish descent, this versatile box-to-box midfielder started his career in the German second tier with Vfl Bochum before moving to Nurnberg where he was then scouted and signed by Borussia Dortmund.

He was signed by coach Jurgen Klopp- who will also leave Dortmund in the summer- to replace Real Madrid bound Nuri Sahin and initially struggled to make an impact in the number 10 role. 

But he made the breakthrough in the 2011-12 season as a deep lying playmaker- helping the Bundesliga giants to their first league and cup double- and the final of the Champions League the following season in which he scored a penalty at Wembley in Dortmund's 2-1 reverse to Bayern. 

 He was sidelined for over a year with a mystery back injury that baffled medical specialists and forced him to miss his country's World Cup triumph in Brazil. 

Gundogan  made his Germany debut in October 2011 aged only 20 (a 3-1 over Belgium) having previously being approached by Turkey, the country of his parents birth.
Gundogan said that declining the offer of playing for Turkey was the "hardest decision of his life".

United manager Louis van Gaal stated in February that he wanted to sign a creative midfielder in the summer and Gundogan, who is technically accomplished and possesses a superb range of passing- as well as being a tenacious tackler- certainly fits the bill.

With 33-year-old Michael Carrick in the twilight of his Old Trafford career, 24-year-old Gundogan is seen as the ideal long-term replacement for United's midfield lynchpin. 

While there is an element of risk about the deal given the talented midfielder's injury hit past, if Gundogan can recapture his 2011-2013 form he could prove to be to be one of van Gaal's smartest signings.

 Gundogan factfile

Born: 24 October 1990 (Gelsenkirchen, Germany)
Playing position: Midfielder
Current teams: Dortmund/Germany
Honours: Bundesliga 2011/12
DFB-Pokal (German Cup): 2011/12
DFL-Supercup: 2013
UEFA Champions League runners up: 2012/13



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