After recent speculation linking Barcelona with a raid on Man City, the Catalan giants have seemingly suffered a potential setback in their pursuit.
Ernesto Valverde secured a domestic double in his first season in charge at the Nou Camp last year, but with club icon Andres Iniesta leaving at the end of the campaign, a void needs to be filled.
Further, with the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Paulinho all approaching or already on the wrong side of 30, long-term reinforcements could also be needed at Barcelona before too long.
As noted by The Sun, they had been paired with a £50m move for Man City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, with the 27-year-old playing his part for Pep Guardiola’s side in their title-winning season last year.
However, the German international sounds as though he’s more than happy and settled in Manchester, and doesn’t have any immediate intention to quit the Etihad.
“I have two years to go on my current contract,” he is quoted as saying by Goal.com. “But it also depends on the club if they want me to stay. Everyone can see and feel I am really happy here.
“With the way we play, with the people around me, in the city, in the community, I really enjoy it here and really enjoy my life. I’m happy.
“There are plenty of things still to achieve. We are committed to this every year at City, not just the players, but the coaching staff, to try to win the biggest trophies. That’s what we will be trying to do next season and the season after.”
That sounds as though he’s in it for the long haul and is motivated to repeat the success of last season. In turn, it would also suggest that Barcelona will have to look elsewhere at other transfer targets to bolster their midfield options.
Given Gundogan’s technical quality, creativity and all-round game, it’s easy to see how he would fit in perfectly at Barcelona. However, it doesn’t sound as though it’s an option he will entertain this summer, which will likely be music to the ears of Guardiola as he’ll want to strengthen his squad rather than replace key figures.