Real Madrid have entered the race to sign Borussia Dortmund midfielder İlkay Gündoğan from under the noses of Manchester United. TalkSPORT suggest that Carlo Ancelotti has identified Gündoğan as a potential target, should he leave the German club. United have been linked to the midfielder for some time, but due to a recurring back injury, any move has been left on the back burner. Former United manager David Moyes was known to be keen on the midfielder, who many supporters feel would be and best midfield signing the club could have purchased, but that was before Arturo Vidal and Kevin Strootman were linked to the club, and obviously before the club signed both Ander Herrera and Daley Blind.
Gündoğan could be available for around £20 million during the January transfer window, and could be an option for the Old Trafford club after deals for Vidal and Strootman seem to have failed, although speculation linking Vidal to United in a swap deal for Juan Mata seem to be dominating the press this week. Gündoğan would be a good fit at United but only of he can prove his fitness for Dortmund, with him expected to return after the international break. The German midfielder has not played football since August 2013 after getting injured 26 minutes into an international against Paraguay, which seems to be a reoccurrence of his back injury which has plagued him recently. The player is now in full training vying to prove his fitness. Speaking to Sky Sports Deutschland, reported by Goal.com, Gündoğan said:
“I am now available. The plan is that I, as soon as the national players coming back, am again fully integrated into the team. I am assuming that I am, on the weekend against FC Cologne, in the squad.”
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal will still need to strengthen his squad with Strootman tipped by the media as his number one target in January, but with defiance coming from the Dutch international club, AS Roma, suggesting the player will not be sold and reports this week that the club will offer Strootman a new contract, Van Gaal may have to look elsewhere, Vidal would be the next obvious player to be linked, but with Juventus seemingly wanting Mata, that could be a reason as to why any possible deal may not be completed. United currently rely on Ander Herrera, Daley Blind and Darren Fletcher to run the midfield. Michael Carrick is close to his return from injury, but more steel could be needed with Anderson and Marouane Fellaini both in the shadows.
Gündoğan, providing he comes back from his injury and gets back to the top of his game, could be one of the best signings Van Gaal could make in January or in the summer, should he be available and want the move. If the player did get back to his best, the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City and Chelsea would almost certainly be interested in the player, Barcelona too if they were not currently banned from the transfer market for the next two windows, so that rules some competition out at least. It remains to be seen what sort of impact Gündoğan has when he makes his return for Dortmund, expected to be on Saturday when they face FC Köln at the RheinEnergieStadion in the Bundesliga.