Manchester United are interested in Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, according to a recent report in the Daily Star. After a slow start to his Dortmund career following a move from Nurnberg two years ago, the 21-year-old has become a fixture for the Bundesliga champions.
Gundogan is also a regular for Germany and was a non-playing member of their Euro 2012 squad. According to the Star, Tottenham are keen on adding Gundogan in January, although United are also said to be interested in the £20-million-rated rising star.
United’s lack of quality central midfield options has been apparent for some time and Gundogan, a deep-lying midfielder with an eye for a pass, may be seen as one potential solution.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have also struggled in defense this season, with Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans forced, through injuries, to form a partnership that has looked less than secure at times. Although Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are all due to return to fitness within the next month, there remain long-term doubts about the club’s options in the center of defense.
With that in mind, reports emerged last week that United were considering a move to bring Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross back to Old Trafford. After a brief loan spell, the physical center-back left United for Stoke on a permanent deal in 2008.
Speaking in the pre-match program before Manchester United’s game with Stoke on Saturday, Ferguson suggested that he regretted allowing the 25-year-old to leave the club.
“We had Jonny Evans, Gerard Pique, Ryan Shawcross, Craig Cathcart, and Paul McShane, and something had to give,” he said.
“We made the right decision keeping Jonny Evans but I'm not so sure about letting Shawcross join Stoke.”
While defense and midfield have appeared to be weaknesses for Manchester United at times this season, one area of the team where there do not appear to be any problems is in attack. Robin van Persie has begun his Old Trafford career in fine style and with Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez and Shinji Kagawa, plus several wide players, United have a host of forward options.
It is something of a surprise then that United continue to be linked with strikers. Borussia Dortmund front man Robert Lewandowski, who United were said to be keenly pursuing in the summer, is still be on Ferguson’s radar, according to the Star.
The Poland international has just over 18 months remaining on his contract and could well be on the move next summer.
Another leading striker whose contract is even more precarious is Schalke’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. The Netherlands international’s deal is set to expire at the end of the season and he is interesting a host of top European clubs, including Manchester United, Tottenham and Juventus, according to the Daily Mail.
Huntelaar, 29, netted 29 goals in 32 Bundesliga appearances last season and has been similarly prolific for the Dutch side.
Schalke general manager Horst Heldt has stated that he hopes to persuade Huntelaar to sign a new deal before he is free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement in January.
“I have had the feeling Klaas-Jan can’t decide at this stage and I will give him the time he needs,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
“My goal is to persuade him to stay at Schalke and to extend his contract.
“We will resume the talks in December, January at the latest, and then I expect a quick decision.”