Ilkay Gundogan and Toni Kroos Are the Answers to Manchester United’s Midfield Problems
With Manchester United needing to strengthen its midfield this summer, there are so many questions revolving around their reported interest in two footballers currently playing in Germany. Are Manchester United thinking along the right lines with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich players, as they look to finally solve their midfield problems? Is Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan worth taking the risk?
Borussia Dortmund star Gundogan and Bayern Munich playmaker Toni Kroos are widely considered the club’s two top targets for the summer transfer window. When one sees Kroos playing, as he did last week against Arsenal, it becomes hard to imagine him swapping the current best team in the world for a side that may not even make it to Europa League next season. But it looks possible as Kroos has certainly hesitated to nail down a new contract with the reigning treble champions.
Even if United dangle a €302,000-a-week contract in front of Kroos, it may be the kind of move that might end in disappointment, just like last summer’s failed pursuit of Cesc Fabregas. Kroos, who is out of contract in June 2015, might somehow sign a new contract and put his dream to bed.
But it looks a different story for Gundogan, who also has less than 18 months left on his contract and has just made one appearance this season in the Bundesliga due to a back injury. A fully fit Gundogan would be a far more important coup than Rooney’s contract extension that was agreed last week.
Gundogan is a world class player at the age of 23, the kind of man who can dominate any game in central midfield and a perfect kind of player to fill in the holes in this United squad. With Gundogan playing alongside the likes of Rooney and Juan Mata, Manchester United can once again live up to its potential and dominate games rather than finding themselves embarrassed even against the most mediocre of opposing sides.
United have lost eight matches this season and are sixth in the Premier League table, so signing Gundogan might be the starting point of an extensive rebuild. Moyes has also kept his eyes on signing a defender, left-back, winger and a striker in the coming summer transfer window, backed by the best part of a £180 million transfer kitty from the Glazers.
But Gundogan, who played such a key role in Dortmund winning the 2012 Bundesliga and reaching the Champions League final last season, would be the most important of the lot. For sure, he carries a certain risk given his notorious unpredictable nature of back problems and his lack of action this season. Real Madrid is also among the clubs who would compete with United for the signature of the German international, if he proves his fitness.
United have burned themselves before by signing a player with a poor injury track record. In his autobiography, Sir Alex Ferguson described Owen Hargreaves as “a disaster.” Yet Gundogan might be a risk worth taking for a side that has spent almost six years trying to replace Roy Keane and Paul Scholes without any luck.
Manchester United definitely needs a lot of repair work to be done in the summer, but Gundogan could prove a catalyst to put the Old Trafford side back into contention.