UNITED KINGDOM/SPAIN: Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan will leave the club for free at the end of his contract. Gundogan, who was given a new contract by City, reportedly negotiated a three-year contract with Barcelona. He was wanted by City manager Pep Guardiola. Gundogan, a midfielder for Germany, played 51 games and scored 11 goals in 2022-2023.
Ilkay Gundogan contributed six goals in his final seven games, including a hat trick in City’s 2-1 FA Cup final victory against Manchester United. He played the full 90 minutes in City’s 1-0 Champions League final victory against Inter Milan.
City manager Guardiola expressed hope for Gundogan’s retention, and City director Txiki Begiristain was working on it. Gundogan left the club after signing a £30 million contract with Chelsea to buy Croatian midfielder, Mateo Kovacic.
Ilkay Gundogan made 304 appearances for City while scoring 60 goals, joining the team in 2016 for a reported £20 million from Borussia Dortmund. He won 14 trophies in seven years, including five Premier League championships, one Champions League, two FA Cups, four Carabao Cups, and two Community Shields. After Fernandinho’s departure, he was named club captain.
Manchester City’s decision to retain Gundogan was based on economics. Guardiola admired the German, but City refused to pay for his services. Instead, they offered him a one-year contract with the option of an additional season, with Barcelona adding an additional year, according to reports.
Gundogan, a 32-year-old with exceptional awareness, is unlikely to improve as City, the 2017-2018 Triple Winner, has a strong position to attract top talent. With Kovacic, the club is almost there, and Gundogan, like David Silva, Yaya Toure, and Vincent Kompany, will be a key player.