Ilkay Gundogan is great - but Man City star is not the summer signing Barcelona need
Erling Haaland has gone eerily quiet of late — by his standards at least. The Norwegian has just one goal in his last four, a frightening lack of attacking production for a striker who has almost reached the 60-goal mark this season.
And in his stead, City have turned to someone else. Their answer to their mystical striking force momentarily faltering is a silky central midfielder. llkay Gundogan has bagged four and two assists over that same period, including a brace to see off Everton in what was regarded as a potential point of failure as they aim to hold off Arsenal in the Premier League title race.
His first against the Toffees was a finish Haaland would be envious of, a deft touch on his right thigh, with a half pivot and quick flick into the bottom corner — all without looking at the goal.
This recent run has captured one element of Gundogan's game: the sneakily impactful goalscorer. But there are other versions, too. There is Gundogan the creator, Gundogan the composed distributor, and Gundogan the dribbler.
Pep Guardiola has fashioned a near-perfect attacking midfielder out of an injury-prone player whose career was slowly fading due to a series of fitness issues. Still, his time at the Etihad Stadium appears to be coming to an end. The Germany international is yet to pen a new deal to stay at the club pas the end of this season, with Barcelona reportedly lurking.
But, although they might want him, Gundogan is not the player the Blaugrana should go after. At Man City, he's a cult hero and perennial Premier League champion. For Barcelona, he is an imperfect fit, and the Blaugrana are better off filling other needs this summer.