Ilkay Gundogan was one of the first signings Pep Guardiola made when he moved to Manchester City last summer. Gundogan’s City career began slow as the German was sidelined to start the season but provided an immediate impact once getting on the pitch. That was until December, when a knee injury would end Gundogan’s season.
But Ilkay’s comeback is almost here, and according to Guardiola Gundogan could make his return as early as City’s friendly with Girona scheduled for next week, depending on what the doctors say.
“I think he's close to coming back. Maybe he'll get minutes in Girona. I don't know, we're going to ask the doctor because, of course, he was injured for a long time. We don't want to take any risks.”
When Gundogan returns he should be welcomed back with open arms by City supporters. Even though he only made 16 appearances last season, Gundogan looked amazing when he was on the pitch. Who can forget the Champions League game against Barcelona where Gundogan scored twice to give City a 3-1 win over a former Pep side? That was just one of the examples of what Ilkay can do, and Pep can’t wait to have him back.
“He's a guy who plays in the middle and can be a holding midfielder or play in front. In those terms, we're so happy.”
Pep Guardiola, source: Daily Mail
While City’s midfield may be stacked this season, there is always need for bodies when you compete in four separate competitions. After going the whole season without winning a trophy for the first time in his career, Pep will definitely be looking to compete on all four fronts this season, and having depth is key. Gundogan can provide quality when called upon to play in midfield, no matter the situation.