Pep Guardiola indicated Manchester City want to cement Ilkay Gundogan’s future at the club with a new contract.
The German midfielder was the first new face of the Guardiola era back in 2016 but having arrived injured, he suffered another problem that spoiled his debut season with the club.
With just 18 months left on the initial deal he signed at the Etihad, Guardiola said the 28-year-old knows that the club would like him to extend his stay.
“He knows what we want, but it’s in our hands,” the manager explained.
“Gundogan played the last two games like a holding midfielder, he had more space than usual – but he was so clever. He made an incredible assist and a lot of passes before the finish.
“His quality is incredible, we knew that. Unfortunately, the first season was a long injury, like [Benjamin] Mendy last season – and when he’s fit, he’s an incredible player. He can play that holding midfield role, he has the quality and the vision to pass. When he’s close to the box, he arrives in the right tempo and the right moment to score a goal – the goal from Kevin was quite similar. He’s a fantastic player.”
Gundogan has filled in for Fernandinho in the last two games and picked up four assists in the FA Cup win over Rotherham. While his manager would prefer to use him further up the pitch, he suggested that the strength of the midfield star in a holding role had helped him decide not to bring in any cover for Fernandinho this month.
“He needs to focus a little bit on the defensive issue and after that his quality is incredible,” said Guardiola.
“When we need a creative player in that position, I don’t think you can find one player in Europe who is more clear in their passing than Gundogan and we have it.
“That’s why in the transfer window when you ask me [if City will strengthen] and I say no it’s because I know the players and the quality and know exactly what they can give us until the end of the season.”