Ilkay Gundogan has revealed that he almost joined Manchester United a year ago, before finally moving to Manchester City.
Gundogan has been a target of United’s since 2013, when then-manager David Moyes pursued the Borussia Dortmund midfielder’s signature.
The German finally made his move to the Premier League earlier this summer, with a £20m move to bitter rivals City materialising.
The 25-year-old has opened up on the circumstances surrounding United’s interest and his eventual stay in Germany.
“‘Maybe last year it was close, but not everything happened like I wanted it to,” he said. “Maybe it was not the right moment and at the end we decided to stay and renew my contract (at Dortmund), to extend for one more year.
“We always had the conversation with Dortmund and agreed that if I left, I will not leave for free, for zero. So I renewed my contract and now this year everyone is lucky and happy how it came to an end.”
Gunodgan is currently sidelined with a knee injury, but is expected to return around September to help City in their new era under Pep Guardiola.
The Spanish manager is expected to initiate an upturn in fortunes at the Etihad Stadium, with City having finished fourth last season.
“It’s going to be a big fight next season in the whole Premier League, not just Manchester City and United,” Gundogan said.
“We have a lot of expectations for the new season, and when you see which managers and players are joining. I think there will be more in the next weeks.
“Anything is possible for this club. I think Pep knows what he has to do and what he has to change. That’s why he is the best coach for me at the moment. He will bring us to the best level we can play.”