FC Barcelona has successfully sealed the signing of Ilkay Gündogan, 32 years old, after months of pursuit. Mateu Alemany, the director of football for the Blaugrana, finalized the deal in Munich, a process that had been in the works since the beginning of the year. Working alongside Mateu was Jordi Cruyff, who led negotiations with Gündogan’s agent, his uncle Ilhan Gündogan (who also represents Christensen). The outgoing director of football and the Balearic executive held several meetings with the German midfielder’s representative abroad, laying the groundwork for his future contract with Barcelona.
A 1 year operation
Both Mateu and Jordi had been closely monitoring players whose contracts expired in 2024, and Gündogan’s name, with his agreement set to conclude on June 30th, was highlighted as a potential reinforcement. Gündogan ticked all the boxes for the type of versatile, experienced, competitive, goal-scoring, and assisting midfielder they were seeking to enhance the squad’s quality and regain competitiveness in Europe.
In the various meetings with Barcelona’s sports executives, Gündogan’s agent raised his client’s concerns. Ilkay wanted to understand the club’s real situation regarding financial fair play and whether he would be eligible for registration in the event of a successful transfer. Another significant area of interest for him was to learn about the sporting project that Barcelona had in store for him. That’s when Xavi stepped in during the past two months. The Blaugrana coach explained his team’s tactical blueprint and the role he envisioned for Gündogan in the upcoming season. Having won the Premier League, FA Cup, and ultimately the Champions League with Manchester City, Gündogan also sought assurances of a winning project.
Once Mateu and Jordi laid the groundwork for a potential agreement with the agent, it was up to the Barcelona coach to further persuade Gündogan. “Xavi has spoken several times with Gündogan,” revealed Pep Guardiola last Monday, perhaps already aware that the Blaugrana coach had won the battle of convincing his former captain.
Despite facing significant pressure in recent weeks, with Manchester City, Arsenal, and Al Ittihad offering substantially higher wages, Gündogan remained loyal to Barcelona, committing to don the blue and garnet colors in the upcoming season.