Which of these two Manchester City midfield maestros is more important?
It is an exceptionally exciting time to be a Manchester City fan, and in many ways, the 2016/17 Premier League season cannot come soon enough.
With the arrival of highly coveted manager Pep Guardiola and a rich financial backing from the club’s Abu Dhabi owners, the sky is the limit as to who the Citizens can bring in this summer, and also for what the club can achieve in the near future.
The first signing of the summer has been Ilkay Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund for £20 million. This was a move that looked to be on the cards for a long time and is a great deal, especially considering City are paying less for the German’s services than Liverpool did for Adam Lallana. The former Southampton man has been approaching something close to his best form in the last few weeks of the season, but even so, you would expect Gundogan to outperform the Englishman on the Premier League stage.
The capture of the central midfielder could spell the end of Yaya Toure’s time at the Etihad, whose lethargic playing style couldn’t be more different to the high pressing play typical of a Guardiola side.
Manchester City supporters will no doubt be extremely excited to see Gundogan play in Manchester, but who can we expect to be more influential and crucial to Man City’s fortunes – Ilkay Gundogan or Kevin De Bruyne?
De Bruyne arrived in Manchester last summer for an astronomical fee of £55 million, but the attacking midfielder has looked worth every penny, as he was by far the brightest light in what was largely a pretty dull and dreary season for City.
When the Belgian was side-lined through injury, the Citizens’ performances dropped and after returning, he was influential to their Champions League progression, scoring against Paris Saint Germain before the Sky Blues eventually crashed out to Real Madrid in the semi-finals.
However, over in Germany Ilkay Gundogan was equally important to his team, as Dortmund scooped up second in the Bundesliga and reached the German cup final, ultimately losing out to the Bavarian behemoths Bayern Munich.
Gundogan was vital for Thomas Tuchel’s side in the centre of the park, constructing a formidable partnership with young rising star Julian Weigl.
Ilkay is more than capable in both an attacking and a defensive role, making him the ideal box-to-box midfielder and somebody who will fit very well under Guardiola’s system.
It is most likely that we will see Gundogan paired with the Brazilian international Fernandinho in the core of Manchester City’s team next season, so it remains to be seen how that partnership will blossom. Gundogan though, should have no problem fitting in straight away and instantly becoming a fan’s favourite.
However, I believe that despite the importance of Gundogan’s arrival, Kevin De Bruyne will remain the most important player to Manchester City next season.
The Belgian possesses all the great attributes an attacking should have; great passing ability, a good turn of pace and an eye for goal.
He, along with fellow Premier League stars Eden Hazard, Philippe Coutinho and Alexis Sanchez, have the ability to single handedly change the outcome of a match by producing a moment of magic.
De Bruyne’s work rate is also incredible, making him a perfect Guardiola player and an incredible asset to Manchester City. All in all though, the most frightening prospect for the rest of the Premier League is seeing how KDB and Ilkay Gundogan will combine in midfield for City. Surely the sort of players who will instantly be on the same wavelength as one another, opposition defences will have to be on top form to prevent the duo from picking out incisive passes game after game.
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