Ilkay Gundogan has admitted that Manchester United were interested in signing him years before his move to Manchester City transpired.
When Alex Ferguson sent scouts to report back on Shinji Kagawa, another midfielder caught their attention in the form of Ilkay Gundogan.
Gundogan was made aware that Man United were hoping to sign him from Borussia Dortmund but the Bundesliga club set out their stance early that they would not be willing to part company with the midfielder, who moved to City a few years later.
“It’s kind of true,” Gundogan told Sky Sports when asked about rumours linking him with a move to United.
🗣 "Kind of true, there were talks. It was 2 or 3 years before I joined City."
Ilkay Gundogan reveals Manchester United tried to sign him before he went to Manchester City pic.twitter.com/3AJ4ovsR0O
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 26, 2021
“There were talks. I think that was at least two or three years before I joined City when I was playing at Borussia Dortmund.
“One teammate of mine, Shinji Kagawa, went to Man United and someone told me they came to a few games to watch him before they bought him.
“Then I took their attention but it never really went into advanced talks because Borussia Dortmund made it quite clear early that they were not willing to sell me.
“I also had a few years left on my contract so there was not really a point to talk to anyone at that moment. So yeah in the end it didn’t happen.”
Gundogan cost just £20 million when he made the switch from Dortmund to the Etihad Stadium in 2016.
While injuries hampered his early progress at City, the Germany international is currently enjoying his best season under Pep Guardiola, with 13 goals already this term.
Gundogan added: “I’m very happy. I believe that everything happens for a reason.
“If I could change anything in my career, I wouldn’t. I’m just proud of where I came to and I’m really enjoying my time here.
“At the end, we all live for these kinds of rivalries in the city. So I also appreciate what Manchester United has done over the last few years and I enjoy playing against them, enjoy being in the same city as them because that’s what football is about.”