Ilkay Gundogan leaves door open for Man City exit amid contract talks

Manchester City title-winner Ilkay Gundogan has not ruled out leaving the Etihad Stadium in the near future after a mixed season with the Premier League champions.

The German international came off the bench to score twice against Aston Villa on the final day of the season, including the goal which completed City’s comeback from 2-0 down. He wasn’t always a regular under Pep Guardiola over the course of the campaign, though, and has said assurances over his future minutes will play into his decision over whether to stay or go.

Gundogan was Guardiola’s first ever City signing when he joined from Borussia Dortmund in 2016. Six years on, though, he is at a crossroads as he enters talks over a new deal.

“We will sit down together in due course and exchange our ideas and plans, and then we will see what comes out of it,” Gundogan told Kicker (via the Manchester Evening News). “The question is whether and when I want to do something new again.

“I haven’t actually answered this question for myself yet. Football-wise, there is certainly still no better address than Manchester City under Pep Guardiola, and I think that will hardly change in the next few years.

“Of course, I would have liked to play a little longer in one or two important games over the last few months. That’s not a secret. I am a player who always wants to play. I also need that for my rhythm, otherwise I often find it difficult.”

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Gundogan's future hangs in the balance

Gundogan’s future hangs in the balance
Action Images via Reuters)

Gundogan played 27 times for City in his most recent season – his lowest total since an injury-interrupted 2016-17 campaign. He was also, perhaps more tellingly, left on the bench for the first leg of City’s Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid and only brought on in the 72nd minute of the return game in Spain.

His current City deal runs out in 2023, and he has said he could see himself retiring at City. However, the 31-year-old has also made suggestions about other potential destinations if he doesn’t agree a new deal.

“Because of my roots, Turkey is naturally interesting,” Gundogan told Sport1. “I also like the USA, I’ve been there on vacation several times.

“However, I’m not worried about that at the moment. I still have a contract in Manchester until 2023, I’m very happy there, both in sporting and private terms, and I can theoretically imagine ending my career at City.”

City have already begun their transfer window by agreeing a deal for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, and could yet make further moves in the market. Still, with Fernandinho ending his long stint at the club, there could well be room for Gundogan for another season at least.

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