Ilkay Gundogan’s timely reminder of his unique qualities gives Man City a contract headache – Alex Brotherton

You never know quite what’s coming next with Pep Guardiola.

That’s part of the fun of it all, I guess, and the Manchester City boss doesn’t look set to change his enigmatic ways anytime soon.

Ilkay Gundogan was one of the key components in City’s title-winning side last season. The Germany international had never bagged more than six goals in a single season prior to the start of the 2020/21 campaign, yet Guardiola managed to transform him into a goalscoring midfielder, finishing as City’s top scorer with 17 in all competitions.

His goalscoring form has been solid if not as spectacular this season, though it’s his lack of recent game time that’s proving to be the biggest obstacle as he looks to match or even surpass his 2020/21 total.

Having started all of City’s first five games of the current Premier League campaign, Gundogan has started just seven of their 18 league outings since.

He returned to the starting XI for Guardiola’s side’s 4-1 win over Fulham in the FA Cup on Saturday, with his equalizer just minutes after Fabio Carvalho had handed the visitors an early lead helping to ward off the threat of a potential upset.

In the latest MENFacebook Live, City Is Ours team members Dom Farrell and Alex Brotherton took a closer look at Gundogan’s performance against Fulham and discussed what the future could hold for the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder.

AB: “He’s not played much over the last month or month-and-a-half but he’s definitely not shown any signs of rustiness.

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“He knows when exactly to make those runs, when to go and when to stay back and obviously he’s still got his finishing touch as well.

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“It’s an interesting one with Gundogan because he’s one of those players whose contract will be up in June 2023, so it’ll be interesting to see if they offer him a new deal.”

Having noted that Gundogan has a little less than 18 months remaining on his current deal, Alex went on to add that City might not ordinarily offer someone of the 31-year-old’s profile a new deal, though his qualities and versatility could force the club’s hand when considering whether to open contract talks or not.

AB: “He’s 31 years old now so he’s not in the age bracket City like to have their players in.

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“But’s he’s showing how valuable he is. There probably is n’t another player in the City team who quite has his sense of timing and he’s pretty capable of filling in the more defensive role in midfield if he needs to be.

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“It’ll be interesting to see how that situation pans out but it was great to see him starting back and back amongst the goals.”

Do you think Man City will offer Ilkay Gundogan a new deal? Follow City Is Ours team members Ross Jackson, Alex Brotherton and Dom Farrell on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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