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Man City decide to not sell 30-year-old star amidst exit links – The right choice?

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Manchester City plan on keeping Ilkay Gundogan

According to a report by Sky Sports, Manchester City have no plans of parting ways with Ilkay Gundogan in the summer transfer window. Spanish side, Barcelona, have been interested in the midfielder but the Premier League champions want to keep a hold of Pep Guardiola’s first signing at City.

This news comes after reports that the German had delayed contract talks with the club, but the club is said to be happy with his contract situation. His current deal at the Etihad expires in 2023. And this news should be welcomed by Man City fans because of a number of reasons. We see why.

In the form of his life

Ilkay Gundogan has never had a season as good as the one that he just had with City; at least when it comes to goals and assists. The German midfielder was absolutely clinical and did not let Manchester City feel the absence of a regular No.9 at the club with his figures. He was the club’s top scorer for the season.

With his 17 goals, he was City’s leading goalscorer and his contribution from midfield helped the club lift the Premier League title as well as make the UEFA Champions League final. So there is no way they can sell Gundogan in this kind of form, which Pep Guardiola thinks is nothing new for him.

“The year we won the second Premier League with 98 points, he was incredible as a holding midfielder. But now, of course, he is our top scorer and that’s why he gets the recognition now he deserves.”

Depth in midfield

One of the biggest reasons why Gundogan simply has to stay at the club is the depleting midfield depth for Pep Guardiola. Kevin de Bruyne is perhaps the only natural central midfielder while Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden, both wingers, are played in midfield.

Rodri, meanwhile, holds the fort in defensive midfield – a position where Gundogan is also capable of excelling in, as inferred from Guardiola’s comments above. Fernandinho, meanwhile, could leave the club in the summer. So with such a shortage of natural midfielders in the team, there is no reason why Gundogan should be shown the door.

Ilkay Gundogan is a leader of men

Another aspect of Gundogan’s stay at City is perhaps the most underrated one. And that is the role he can play as a leader. With Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho both possibly not at the club next season, he is the oldest player in the current City squad. The 30-year-old was given the role of a leader this season itself, and Guardiola praised the midfielder for excelling at it.

Manchester City do not intend to sanction Ilkay Gundogan transfer to Barcelona.
Manchester City do not intend to sanction Ilkay Gundogan transfer to Barcelona.

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“He deserves this role of leadership through what he has done on the pitch. It is the best way to show his ability. I am delighted with the external recognition he gets now because he is scoring goals and making assists. He deserves it.”

Hence, it looks like Manchester City shouldn’t sell Ilkay Gundogan at any cost. It seems like a simple decision for Pep Guardiola to make.

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