A week on from the Champions League final and Ilkay Gundogan still hasn’t committed his long-term future to treble winners Manchester City.
Granted, he hasn’t given Barcelona the nod either, but it’s worth considering in the meantime just what he would bring to the club were he to be signed.
After all, many culers that contribute their comments to this platform suggest that the German is a signing we can do without given that we’ve got Frenkie, Gavi and Pedri as a potential first choice midfield three.
That trio may or may not be Xavi’s preference in the middle of the park, and even if it is, what kind of squad depth do we realistically have now that Sergio Busquets has departed?
Sergi Roberto if he’s not going to be stationed at right-back, Pablo Torre and, at the moment, Franck Kessie, though it looks like he may now be surplus to requirements.
Should Xavi still be prepared to sign a right-back, that would place Sergi Roberto in midfield as he’s likely to be first-choice captain, giving the team one extra option in reserve.
Arguably that’s still not enough for a team that want to be challenging in the Champions League as well as La Liga and the Copa del Rey in 2023/24.
So, the first thing to note with Gundogan’s presence is at worst he will provide cover and depth for the squad.
His experience in the game will also be invaluable to the younger midfielders.
Let’s not beat about the bush here. Gundogan was as much a part of Man City’s treble-winning season as Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Ruben Dias et al.
A team who’ve dominated the footballing landscape over the past 12 months and it was Gundogan who Pep Guardiola had faith in to be captain of that swashbuckling juggernaut.
Pep has often spoken highly of his captain so if that’s not a decent enough testimonial, then what is?
The 32-year-old shows no sign of slowing up either, and even if he’s not the quickest on the pitch, like all great players his brain operates at a different level to mere footballing mortals.
He can play anywhere in the centre of the park too. A preference for getting forward and attacking notwithstanding, Gundogan has also played in a deeper midfield role with aplomb.
Whichever role he’s tasked with, he seems to find space with ease and can be relied upon to set the tempo too.
For any number of reasons, he would be a perfect addition for the Blaugranes, and time will tell if the club are able to convince him of the merits of Xaxi’s relatively new and emerging project.