Manchester City finally rang the bell on one of the worst kept secrets in the transfer market with the £21m capture of Ilkay Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund, relatively cheaply thanks to the 25-year-old’s short-term BvB contract.
It’s likely the central-midfielder would have cost much more were he tied down to a longer deal, after impressing in over 150 appearances for Dortmund since breaking into Jurgen Klopp’s 2011/12 Bundesliga/DFB Pokal double-winning side, as well as in 16 appearances for Germany.
One huge concern surrounding Pep Guardiola’s first signing is his fitness, with Gundogan missing all but three matches of the 2013/14 campaign, plus his country’s subsequent World Cup win in Brazil, due to a back injury.
The Gelsenkirchen native has suffered a litany of setbacks since, injuring his adductor, hamstrings, pelvis, feet, ankles, shins and now a dislocated knee meaning City fans won’t see Gundogan on the pitch until September at the earliest, another international tournament missed.
Dortmund were forced to move on, as they usually do, when it became clear their next star man would be tempted to richer climes, especially with Gundogan missing 12 games last term due to various ailments, according to transfermarkt.com.
Step forward 20-year-old anchorman Julian Weigl, now an established first-teamer under Thomas Tuchel after 40 appearances, nearly all starts, in his first season in the Black and Yellow shirt and a debut with Joachim Low’s national team just days ago.
Having captained an 1860 Munich side sliding out of German league football at the tender age of 18, Weigl was vaulted into the top tier by Tuchel in €2.5m deal last summer and has barely put a foot wrong since.
Only Bayern Munich trio Rafinha, David Alaba and Joshua Kimmich bettered his 91.9% pass accuracy in the 2015/16 Bundesliga, with at least one dribble and one key pass or shot per match suggesting he’s more than just a defensive shield.
Time will tell whether Gundogan can steer clear of further trouble and make a success of his City move, but a more reliable option may have been just under Guardiola’s nose.