Barcelona are expected to be in the transfer market for a new midfielder and have been heavily linked with a free transfer move for Manchester City veteran İlkay Gündoğan.
The German midfielder is yet to find an agreement over a new deal with the Premier League side and will be available on a free transfer at the end of the season if the situation remains unchanged.
This has provided the likes of Barcelona, who have prioritised free agents in the recent windows due to their financial condition, a great opportunity to upgrade their midfield without making a big dent in their books.
Pedri and Frenkie de Jong’s absence against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-final did expose the side’s frailties in the middle of the park. However, even in the games where Xavi has been able to field his best midfielders, Barcelona have seldom dictated the play, akin to what Manchester City did in their 3-0 rout against Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.
Barcelona target Gündoğan was impressive in Manchester City’s 3-0 win
One of the big reasons behind City’s dominance for large periods at the Etihad Stadium was the way their midfielders retained possession and created overloads in the final third.
Gündoğan, in particular, was not only influential in City’s build-up but was also a consistent threat at the opposite end with his movement. After Rodri’s opener, the 32-year-old came very close to doubling the English outfit’s lead minutes after the half-hour mark, but Yann Sommer made a brilliant save to keep Bayern Munich’s hopes alive.
But as the night progressed, City’s grip on the fixture tightened and they added two more goals. Their second goal also came because of an impressive run in the box from a midfielder. Bernardo Silva, who was one of Barcelona’s priority targets last summer, met Erling Haaland’s cross with a bullet header.
The impact of City midfielders in Pep Guardiola‘s system should act as a perfect template for Barcelona to follow, and Gundogan is the type of player needed to get anywhere close to it.