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Man City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan prefers a move to Barcelona despite Arsenal’s interest in his services, according to the latest reports.
The 32-year-old captain of Manchester City is set to become a free agent this summer and has yet to commit to new terms with the Premier League champions. This has prompted rumors that the Gunners, City’s closest title rivals this season, will attempt to sign the German international in the coming weeks.
Gundogan affirmed last month that discussions regarding his future are still ongoing, confirming that City has not given up hope of convincing the midfield maestro to commit his future to the club.
Gundogan Set to Meet with Arteta Before Crucial Decision
This has not been enough to deter Arsenal’s interest, however. Mikel Arteta is planning a midfield overhaul prior to the 2023/24 season, and a move for Ilkay Gundogan, with whom he worked during his time on Pep Guardiola’s coaching staff, would be viewed as a significant coup for Arsenal.
Nonetheless, a recent report from Sport suggests that Gundogan would prefer a move to Barcelona, who contacted the midfielder long before his other pursuers. Moreover, it is rumored that Gundogan ‘intends’ to reside in Spain instead of pursuing a longer career in the Premier League.
Arteta hopes to convince Gundogan to join him at the Emirates in a face-to-face meeting, despite the Manchester City star’s affection for Barcelona. The Spaniard remains optimistic about partnering Gundogan with West Ham captain Declan Rice, the Gunners’ top transfer target this summer.
Gundogan Could Stay at City as Club Consider Contract Extension
Arteta has a history of plundering the Etihad; Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko drove Arsenal’s title challenge this season, despite Guardiola deeming them surplus to requirements last summer.
It remains to be seen, however, whether the Spaniard will take a similar stance with Gundogan, who has been instrumental in assisting Manchester City win the title.
According to recent reports, City are prepared to grant Gundogan’s request and offer the veteran a two-year contract.
Although the footballer was aware all season that his contract was set to run out, the midfielder never relented in his efforts to see Man City to another Premier League title.
Guardiola emphasized the significance of the midfielder earlier in the season, suggesting that City would struggle to maintain their success without his services.
“I remember one season when we won the second Premier League when Fernandinho was injured for a long time and he played as holding midfielder in games like against Burnley away with the long balls, second balls and… wow… he played,” Guardiola said.
“I said I had the feeling that, without him, we couldn’t win the Premier League. He’s so intelligent, Gundo; so clever and competitive. Under pressure he handles it without a problem,” the manager explained.
“He’s one of the best players I ever trained in my career in terms of the whole package. He’s top, top class.”
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