Ilkay Gündogan’s future up in the air

by Niklas Wildhagen

A lot has been written and said about Mario Götze’s transfer to Bayern during the summer and the forthcoming transfer of Robert Lewandowski from Borussia Dortmund to the Säbener Strasse. Dortmund boss Hans-Joachim Watzke has gone as far as stating that Bayern had set out to destroy the Black and Yellows on the transfer market. If the Monday edition of Focus is to be believed Lewandowski and Götze needn’t necessarily be the last players going from Dortmund to Bayern.

Focus writes that Gündogan’s advisers and officials from Bayern had a meeting to hold preliminary talks about a possible transfer to the German record champions. Gündogan’s father Irfan told Ruhr Nachrichten that “there haven’t been any negotiations with Bayern”, furthermore stating that Borussia Dortmund are the first team he and his son want to approach. A firm denial, however, a person hung up in linguistics might point out that there is a difference between a preliminary talks and negotiations.

Other suitors

Despite the German international’s injury woes the rumour mill has been going hot over the last few months. Real Madrid were rumoured to be interested in securing his services and so are their arch rival’s FC Barcelona. Gündogan is said to be among the candidates to succeed Xavi at the Catalan club.

The Daily Mail has reported that David Moyes is willing to dish out 250,000 € per week in wages to secure the Gelsenkirchen born midfielder. There’s little doubt that Dortmund are in a position to match the wages any of these sides are capable of paying.

Even Bayern would have trouble paying the wages Manchester United are willing to offer if the Daily Mirror is to be believed.

Would Gündogan strengthen Bayern?

But, given the outbursts on Twitter and in German tabloids alike, there seems to be one vital question missing from the conservation about this transfer rumour: Would a transfer make sense for both parties? There are a number of elements coming into play here if one tries to answer that question. The calm presence of Gündogan on the ball, his passing skills and the way he gets involved into the build up play are elements which make him a valuable player for Dortmund. Most teams would be able to put those qualities to good use and Bayern have to take certain aspects into consideration for their squad planning ahead of next season.

Toni Kroos has so far not agreed to a new deal at Bayern, which would leave Bayern with a vacant place in their squad next season or in 2015. Bastian Schweinsteiger has been injury prone and is slowly, but surely, starting to approach the end of his playing career four to five years from now. Having his successor in place at an early stage isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if Toni Kroos should decide to leave the club during the summer.

Sport Bild reported last month that Bayern München had decided to stop buying players from Borussia Dortmund, in order to insure that their biggest rivals wouldn’t get any weaker in the league. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told a reporter from the German sports show Das Aktuelle Sportstudio that these reports weren’t accurate, stating:

We don’t take such ludicrous decisions.

It would certainly leave a foul taste in the mouth of many a Bundesliga follower or fan should Bayern decide to buy Gündogan. Paul Breitner was outraged about Hans-Joachim Watzke’s comments concerning  Bayern’s  systematic weakening of Dortmund, stating that these signings were purely based on improving Bayern’s performance on the pitch. However, this allegation will become harder to deny should Bayern decide to add a third Dortmund player to their roster within the space of one year. Furthermore, the blow of losing both Lewandowski and Gündogan in one transfer window would be difficult to overcome for the Black and Yellows.

Conclusion pending

Several media reports have stated that Gündogan could leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season for a transfer fee of 25 million Euros due to a buy out clause. Paying that price is a gamble at this stage, given the player’s recent injury woes.  Dortmund have been keen to extend the German international’s contract for a long time now, but as time starts passing the doubts about his future at Borussia Dortmund increase.

What do you think? Should Gündogan extend his contract at Dortmund or should he leave the club?

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Author:Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 28-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball and on the @AufstiegPod.
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