Former Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan has questioned the club’s timing of a new contract offer.
The 32-year-old, who completed a free transfer to Barcelona after choosing not to sign a new contract at the Etihad Stadium, captained Manchester City to a famous treble last season; winning the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League.
Gundogan ended a seven-stay with Manchester City in June, having made over 300 appearances and won 14 trophies with the Sky Blues, including five Premier League titles.
The German midfielder scored a brace against Manchester United in the Emirates FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in June, and also helped Manchester City to a third successive Premier League title with crucial goals against Leeds United and Everton.
The midfielder moved to La Liga despite suggestions that the 32-year-old would sign a new contract at Manchester City; with Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal and the Saudi Pro League all interested in signing the treble-winning star.
Gundogan was Pep Guardiola’s first signing at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, and famously scored twice against Aston Villa to dramatically win the Premier League title in 2022.
Manchester City signed former Chelsea and Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic as a replacement for the departed club captain, as Gundogan became the latest Cityzen to swap East Manchester for Catalonia.
Gundogan has made four La Liga appearances for Barcelona since moving to the Camp Nou, and the 32-year-old has suggested that Manchester City’s timing of a new contract offer impacted his decision to leave.
“I don’t want to go into the minute details, but it was quite late in the season,” the midfielder told German outlet Bild.
“And when it comes to a Champions League quarter-final or semi-final, players want to concentrate purely on sport. I didn’t know what would happen next. I couldn’t plan anything.
“Pep Guardiola’s appreciation was always there, but officially there was no movement from the club for a long time. Until May, there was little reason for me to want to change.
“The triple victory was of course a crowning achievement. But that couldn’t have been planned.”
Manchester City tabled an improved offer to Gundogan following a fresh offer from Barcelona, however the Ballon d’Or opted to reject a contract extension and sign for the La Liga champions.
Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez both departed the Etihad Stadium during the summer transfer window, meanwhile Manchester City were able to retain pair Kyle Walker and Bernardo Silva despite intense transfer interest.
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