Manchester City and FC Barcelona have today confirmed the exit and signing of Ilkay Gundogan respectively following a seven-year stay in the Premier League.
The Germany international midfielder leaves City with a staggering 304 appearances across all competitions to this name, scoring a total of 60 goals in the process after joining the club from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2016 for a transfer fee understood to be £20 million.
Ilkay Gundogan is widely remembered as being the first signing of the Pep Guardiola era, and establishing himself as the player that truly exemplified the way the Catalan coach wanted to play football at the Etihad Stadium.
The 32-year-old leaves Manchester City as the club’s captain, capping off a truly outstanding career with a European success in Istanbul, as he lifted the organisation’s first ever UEFA Champions League title, to add to a Premier League and FA Cup crown in the same campaign.
Those honours mean Gundogan leaves the club with a total of five Premier League titles to his name, two FA Cups, four League Cups, two Community Shields, and of course, a UEFA Champions League crown.
What are the terms of Ilkay Gundogan’s Barcelona deal?
Ilkay Gundogan has joined the reigning La Liga champions on a free transfer, following the expiry of his Manchester City contract. Signing an initial two-year deal with FC Barcelona, Gundogan will also have the option to extend for a further year in 2025.
Gundogan’s Barcelona deal includes a €400 million release clause.
What has Ilkay Gundogan said upon leaving Manchester City?
“For me it has been a total privilege and pleasure to be part of Manchester City for the last seven years. Manchester has been my home and I have felt part of a very special family at City. I have been lucky to have experienced so many unforgettable moments in my time here and to have been captain for this extra special season has been the greatest experience of my career.
“First, I would like to thank Pep. To have been able to play under and learn from him for so long has been something I will never forget. I would also like to thank all my team-mates – past and present – who have all played such a special part in making my time here so amazing.
“Finally, I would like to thank the incredible City fans. They have supported me from the moment I arrived, and I owe them all so much for their support. This club made me realise all my dreams and I will forever be thankful for this opportunity. I will carry City always in my heart. Once a blue, always a blue.”
Ilkay Gundogan has also penned a personal letter through The Players’ Tribune which is available to read HERE.
What has Txiki Begiristain said about the deal?
“Ilkay has been a wonderful servant for Manchester City, and he leaves our club on a very special high having captained us to a historic Treble. He has played a huge part in the successes we have enjoyed in recent seasons and Ilkay’s intelligence, leadership and commitment to the Club – both on and off the field – has been an inspiration to everyone.
“Ilkay has truly cemented his place in the history of Manchester City and we all wish him well in the next chapter of his career. And he leaves us knowing that he will always be welcomed at this football club.”
Who else was interested in Ilkay Gundogan?
The now-former Manchester City midfielder is understood to have had a number of proposals placed on the table from the moment he was permitted to speak with potential suitors in January.
Premier League rivals Arsenal are understood to have shown a willingness to sign the midfielder, following Mikel Arteta’s admiration in the player after working together during their time at the Etihad Stadium.
Gundogan was also subject to interest from Saudi Arabia, who were offering a lucrative package in an attempt to lure the player to the Middle East, with a salary understood to be worth €35 million annually.
Brief conversations were also held with his former club Borussia Dortmund over the possibility of an emotional return, but the player had no interest in moving back to the Bundesliga during the final years of his career.
How have FC Barcelona described their new signing?
“In his seven years at Manchester City, he has truly established an enormous collection of medals. Having won the Premier League five times, this year he was in the City side that finally lifted its first Champions League. In seven seasons in England, he scored 60 goals. Only two Premiership midfielders were able to score more in that same period.
“And now he is arriving at FC Barcelona, an attacking midfielder who reads the game to perfection and also knows how to put the ball in the back of the net. Basically, he is one of the world’s best midfielders of the last decade or so.”
Everyone at City Xtra would like to thank Ilkay Gundogan for a very special seven years at Manchester City, giving us some of the best memories of our lives, and wishes the midfielder all the best going forward in his career!
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