Manchester United are reportedly insistent that they have no interest in signing Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan, despite recent rumours linking the Old Trafford club with the midfielder.
Dortmund have already confirmed that Gundogan will depart the club this summer, but the Express quotes “United sources” as insisting that the German “is not on their radar.”
The £20 million-rated Gundogan is certainly set for a move, though, with Dortmund’s chief executive, Hans-Joachim Watzke, recently revealing as much, per the Express:
Gundogan will be leaving Borussia Dortmund this summer. That is a fact. I am very confident we will see various clubs coming in for him. It has not been our intention to see him leave. It was his ambition to move clubs [this summer]. Therefore, we agreed. We will sell him.
Gundogan, 24, has been cited by many as an ideal long-term replacement for key deep-lying midfielder Michael Carrick at Old Trafford.
However, Bleacher Report’s Sam Tighe insists that not only is he not necessarily that kind of player—he is more of a box-to-box midfielder—but his form has been negatively affected by a lengthy injury:
Tighe makes a compelling case for why United boss Louis van Gaal should think carefully about pursuing Gundogan, and the latest reports suggest the Red Devils may not be interested after all.
Even if he does not move to Old Trafford, though, the highly rated midfielder will surely get a move to a top club.
Arsenal have been linked with him, per the Express, while German giants Bayern Munich are also reportedly circling, per Bild (via Bundesliga expert Clark Whitney):
United certainly need a long-term replacement for Carrick, as they have looked lost without the English midfielder in the team in recent times.
However, Gundogan, perhaps correctly, has seemingly not been earmarked as his obvious heir apparent at Old Trafford.
Scholes Backs Di Maria
United legend Paul Scholes believes Angel Di Maria should be given at least one more season at Old Trafford to prove his worth.
The Argentinian arrived in Manchester from Real Madrid last summer for a British-record £59.7 million fee, but he failed to set the Premier League alight in 2014-15—although he still provided 10 assists, per WhoScored.com.
Rumours have abounded that the Red Devils may cut their losses and let him go, with Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich both linked with a move for Di Maria, per Kevin Palmer of ESPN FC.
However, club hero Scholes believes United should keep him on despite his poor performances, especially with United returning to the Champions League next season, per the Independent: “The quality is there and I don’t think United can afford to lose him. They need that kind of player if they are to compete at the highest level in the Champions League. Let’s see what next season brings.”
Di Maria was one of Real’s best players in their Champions League-winning 2013-14 season and has all the qualities to become one of the best players in the world at United.
Football writer Andy Brassell believes Van Gaal should be building the team around the 27-year-old, which is not an overly bold claim for such an expensive player:
It would be somewhat ludicrous for United to offload Di Maria after just one season in which he has failed to adapt to Premier League football.
As Scholes notes, his experience will be vital in the Champions League next term, and an in-form Di Maria could also push United toward challenging for the Premier League title.
However, should PSG come in with a big enough offer, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Di Maria will be moved on, even though it could prove to be be a big mistake on United’s part.