Ilkay Gundogan is ready to re-open contract talks with Manchester City following Saturday’s FA Cup final, Goal has learned.
Gundogan’s current deal expires next summer and he has been in a stand-off with City in recent months, but there is now a willingness on both sides to agree fresh terms, although no agreement is in place yet.
The 28-year-old had put talks on hold in March and City were so pessimistic about their chances of retaining his services they had considered the possibility of selling him ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.
But Goal reported in late April that the club had become more optimistic about the chances of Gundogan staying, and it is now understood that he is ready to sit down with club officials and thrash out the terms of a new deal in the coming weeks.
Gundogan played a particularly instrumental role for City in the final months of the season, stepping in for the injured Fernandinho to help the Blues record the 14 consecutive victories that led them to back-to-back Premier League titles.
The former Borussia Dortmund man scored City’s fourth goal in the decisive 4-1 win at Brighton on Sunday and he is expected to start in the FA Cup final against Watford at the weekend.
Goal understands that the midfielder did not sign the contract that had previously been on offer because he was unsure that he would get as much first-team football as desired in the final years of his career.
Gundogan’s chances of regular football are expected to increase, however, with both David Silva, 33, and Fernandinho, 34, nearing the end of their City careers, although the club plan to bring in Rodri from Atletico Madrid this summer to ease the burden on Fernandinho.
Sources close to Gundogan also insist he wanted to focus on City’s title run-in rather than his future. He had publicly stated that he was in no rush to make a decision one way or the other and that he could even wait until next season before committing his future.
That did not fit in with City’s desire to have their transfer plans mapped out as early as possible, however, and despite the midfielder’s reluctance to talk, they had always intended to reach a definitive conclusion before this summer’s transfer window opens.
Pep Guardiola had also hinted at the stand-off by suggesting the midfielder did not want to sign a new deal, but the Catalan sees him as an important part of the club’s plans and is keen for the club to extend his stay at the Etihad Stadium.