Ilkay Gundogan ended his trophy-laden seven-year stick with Manchester Metropolis by agreeing to hitch Barcelona on a free switch on Monday.
The Germany midfielder’s final act as a Metropolis participant and because the staff’s captain was to carry the Champions League trophy, which accomplished a treble of main titles for the English membership.
Now, he’s heading to Spain on a two-year contract for a brand new expertise, though Pep Guardiola wished to maintain the 32-year-old Gundogan – the primary signing of the Metropolis supervisor’s period from 2016.
“This membership made me realise all my desires and I’ll perpetually be grateful for this chance,” Gundogan mentioned. “I’ll carry Metropolis at all times in my coronary heart. As soon as a blue, at all times a blue.”
Having missed out on securing the return of Lionel Messi, Barcelona made the signing of Gundogan a precedence so as to add some expertise to a midfield already containing kids Pedri Gonzalez and Gavi, two of their pillars going ahead, however not together with veteran chief Sergio Busquets, who’s leaving the membership.
Frenkie de Jong additionally performed an essential position final season for Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez, regardless of efforts by the membership to promote him within the offseason of 2022.
Barcelona have set Gundogan’s buyout clause at 400 million euros (about $435 million).
In a press release, the Spanish champions described their newest signing as a participant who reads the sport to perfection and one of many world’s finest midfielders of the final decade or so.
Gundogan’s arrival comes whereas debt-ridden Barcelona are nonetheless struggling to fulfill the Spanish league’s monetary guidelines. Solely not too long ago had been they capable of finding a option to formally register Gavi as a first-team participant. It’s extensively anticipated that the membership might want to promote gamers to cut back its bills, and the addition of Gundogan will solely add to that burden until compensated by exits.
Whereas Barcelona offered off a part of their future tv revenues and different property to have the money essential to signal Robert Lewandowski and different gamers final 12 months, their monetary issues have more and more compelled the membership to seek out free brokers who wish to come to Spain. Final 12 months, the staff picked up present gamers Andreas Christensen, Marcos Alonso and Franck Kessie on free transfers, whereas different free brokers like Memphis Depay have come and gone lately.
Metropolis had been reportedly solely providing Gundogan a one-year deal, whereas he wished an extended contract for some safety for his household.
He’ll go down as a Metropolis nice, not only for being the staff’s captain in its biggest ever season however due to a few of the essential objectives he scored and performances he delivered within the midfield, the place he might play box-to-box, as an anchorman or – in his favoured position – as a participant supporting the striker.
No objectives had been extra essential than the 2 he scored to finish Metropolis’s late comeback from 2-0 right down to Aston Villa on the ultimate day of the 2021-22 season, successful the staff one other league title.
After becoming a member of from Borussia Dortmund, the place he was a Bundesliga champion in 2012, Gundogan received 5 Premier League titles, two FA Cups, 4 English League Cups and the Champions League with Metropolis.
“He has performed an enormous half within the successes we’ve got loved in current seasons and Ilkay’s intelligence, management and dedication to the membership – each on and off the sphere – has been an inspiration to everybody,” Metropolis director of soccer Txiki Begiristain mentioned.
Gundogan now arrives at a membership that received the Spanish league title final season however failed for a second straight marketing campaign to maneuver previous the group part of the Champions League.