Borussia Dortmund made a name for themselves under Jurgen Klopp in 2013 when they clinched the Bundesliga title and made it to the Champions League final in the same season. They’ve got a whole host of big names in their squad – although they’ve already lost some of those who participated in that winning season just three years ago. Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze both joined rivals Bayern Munich, and it looks like Mats Hummels could be on his way there too in due course. However, Dortmund could be providing the Premier League with the best two signings of the summer this year.
Ilkay Gundogan has already been confirmed as a Manchester City player for the upcoming season and his arrival will be met with great expectation. The 25 year-old midfielder is one of the most highly rated German internationals and has been tipped for a move to the Premier League for a few years now. After Pep Guardiola confirmed he’d be joining Manchester City as their new manager for the upcoming season, it was clear some big signings would be following him to England. Gundogan is just the first of many that are expected to go to Manchester but he could be the signing of the season if utilised well and if he settles in quickly.
Dortmund could be losing another midfield star this summer as Manchester United continue the pursuit of Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Jose Mourinho has his eyes set on the right-sided midfielder and could be prepared to splash over £25m on the talented Armenian. Manchester United already had a £19m bid rejected earlier this month but it’s believed they may have to pay a considerable amount more to secure the midfielder’s services. He’s not signed a new contract with Dortmund after admitting he wants the move to Manchester to go ahead and the German club confirmed his situation would be ‘assessed and sorted’ before pre-season commences.
Mkhitaryan joined Dortmund from Shaktar Donetsk for £23.5m in 2013 and has impressed during his time with the Bundesliga club. Last season he netted 18 goals for Dortmund, including a goal against Liverpool during their Europa League quarter-final defeat. He added a further 25 assists to his name and was impressive throughout the year as he was voted the Bundesliga Players’ Player of the Year.
The Dortmund midfielder could join United after it was confirmed Zlatan Ibrahimovic will join Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford for the 2016-17 season. Both provide a serious attacking threat and if Mourinho can find a way to fit Mkhitaryan in alongside Martial, Rooney and perhaps Rashford, Manchester United can have one of the strongest attacking forces in the Premier League. For just over £20m, the Armenian would cost less than Liverpool’s pursuit of Saido Mane and could be the star of the season if United can bounce back in the league. He’s the all-time leading goalscorer for his national side and has a lot of European experience so he’ll be a real asset for the former English champions.
Ilkay Gundogan is a versatile midfielder who can play in the central role or as an effective holding player. He’s been an ever-present in the Borussia Dortmund and Germany squads for the last two years and for £21m he could be City’s best signing this summer.
The midfielder has spent most of his playing career in Germany, spending time with Nuremberg before being signed by Dortmund in 2011. He was crucial in their 2013 Champions League campaign and has since provided stability, energy and versatility to their midfield. He enjoys possession and can keep the ball well, even in difficult situations. Under Guardiola’s guidance, he can become an important player for Manchester City, who’s strengths lie in their counter attack.
As a holding midfielder, he can dictate the play and spread the ball well from the middle of the park. His passing is sublime and he has the ability to thread throughballs behind the defence in areas where Aguero, Sterling and Silva will be looking to find themselves in. Alongside Kevin De Bruyne in a diamond-looking midfield, Gundogan could be the perfect replacement for Yaya Toure who looks beyond his years. The Premier League’s pace won’t be a problem for the young German either as his speed and positioning will put him in good stead.
Together, both Gundogan and Mkhitaryan could have massive impacts on the Premier League this year and if Manchester United secure the signing of the Armenian midfielder, the North West derby between the red and blues could be shaping up to be a real contest.