Grading The Deal; The Illimitable İlkay Gündoğan Moves To Manchester City


The silly season is fully underway, as club “think tanks” seek to delve into the transfer market and attempt to strengthen their teams going into the new season, while also ensuring that they get the best possible value for money deals in a very competitive and largely inflated global transfer market. We at GSV have taken it upon ourselves to give you a comprehensive breakdown of some transfer deals in our Grading The Deal supplement, an exclusive and comprehensive guide catered towards the purists who seek to know more than the average fan regarding the wheeling’s and dealings in football today. Enjoy!


When the Jürgen Klopp led Borussia Dortmund outfit was gradually establishing their status as one of the pioneering teams of the modern era, with their heavy metal gegen-pressing game often leaving opposition sides looking overawed; the team was often kept together in midfield by a player that helped to fully integrate the deep-lying playmaker position in a high pressing side globally. İlkay Gündoğan is a player that is light-years ahead of most midfield players today talent wise; blessed with the ability to read a game as well as the best of them, while also having the technical proficiency to make magic with scrumptious passes that often lead to something positive happening for his side, Gündoğan is a premier level deep-lying playmaker of high regard. When Xavi Hernández was ranked as the premier regista is World football, he played the position better than anybody on the planet and exemplified al it meant to be a deep-lying playmaker in positioning and output on both ends of the ball. The baton was passed from Pirlo to Xavi, and many felt that it was firmly between Luka Modrić & İlkay Gündoğan as to who would wear that mantle for the next 5 years. İlkay suffered some injury setbacks, and his time away from the elite stage saw the further rise of players like Paul Pogba & Mateo Kovačić, who will now be seen as the rivals that he needs to compete against as he attempts to solidify his place as one of the best deep-lying playmakers of his generation.

The new Manchester City, under gaffer legendary Pep Guardiola, will need to have their own unique identity, one that allows for the coach to build his own foundation for the work ahead upon the great platform already laid in terms of infrastructure and operations. Many of the old-guard were long expected to make way for younger players that are expected to form part of the bright future being envisioned by the board, fans and the new technical team; a world-class like İlkay Gündoğan is a must have if Pep wants to bring his intricate game to England and enjoy any measurable success in a physically demanding league. The fact that he is looked at as somewhat of a low-key signing by some, due to his lack of output over the last 24 plus months, may just assist Gündoğan in acclimatising to his new surroundings and quickly getting up to the pace & intensity of the league, without too much expectation on him to lead the new-look side in what is expected to be a modified midfield. İlkay has the experience to know that this new challenge is one he must grab with both hands if he seeks to get his career back on track & prove his merit as a genuine world-class talent, one who could be a lot further on in his development were it not for injuries, that have combined to make him miss a total of 132 games, 88 of those from one injury, for the 2 clubs he has represented since 2009.

İlkay Gündoğan


DoB: October 24th, 1990 (25)

PoB: Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia; Germany

Nationality: German

Caps & Goals: 16 Caps, 4 Goals & 3 Assists

Position/s: Deep-Lying Playmaker, Box-To-Box Midfielder, Attacking Midfielder, Advanced Playmaker, Trequartista

Height: 1, 80m

Preferred Foot: Right

Club: Manchester City Football Club

Jersey No: #16

Former Clubs: VfL Bochum II (2008-2009), 1. FC Nürnberg (2009-2011), Borussia Dortmund (2011-2016)

Development Nest/s: SV Gelsenkirchen-Hessler 06, Schalke 04, SSv Buer, VfL Bochum

Transfer Fee: £20m

Contract Expiry: June 30th, 2020

2015/16 Club Stats: 40 Games, 3 Goals, 7 Assists & 2 Yellow Cards

Total Career Stats: 210 Games, 23 Goals, 27 Assists & 16 Yellow Cards

GSV Deal Grader: David Silva, from Valencia CF to Manchester City, June 2010 for £26m (5/5)

The Grand Stand View

İlkay Gündoğan did well to overcome the spinal compression injury that ruled him out for a year from August of 2013 to September of 2014; he is currently sidelined with a dislocated patella, which has had him out of action since the 2nd of May 2016, Manchester City will have to use their vast medical resources to manage the physical regiment of Gündoğan and help him stay as fit as possible. İlkay is expected to miss the 1st few games of the season as he shrugs off his injury, but the one ca trust that he will be fighting to prove his worth once he is fully fit and ready to play.

The transfer fee is a relatively small outlay for a player of İlkay’s repute; the players rather sketchy injury record, the fact that he had a year left to run on his Dortmund deal and his willingness to explore a new challenge have all combined to allow City to truly steal a world-class player, for a fee that wouldn’t buy you a decent young prospect in the current transfer market. The considerable savings on the deal should allow the spending to continue, as Pep looks to build the team he feels is armed with the weapons to play his attacking game.


The Dream Team United (Week 1)

With the first week of the 30th edition of the Afcon tournament having concluded on Saturday, we at GSV decided to compile a Dream Team United, comprising eleven players that have stood out for us during the course of the tournament’s first 7 days. With the last round of fixtures commencing today, these players will be entrusted with the hopes and dreams of a nation, and it is them who will have to emerge as the difference between advancing to the knockout stages and bowing out of the tournament as a fond memory. The tournament has seen some moments of brilliance and some solid performances, and so we deemed it necessary to acknowledge those who have performed adequately during the first two rounds. While some of the players in the Dream Team United seem like obvious calls, others require steady explanations as to how and why they made the squad.

The Dream Team United for week 1 will line up in an offensive 3-5-2 formation:

Goalkeeper – Didier Ovono Age:31 Country: Gabon

Coming into the tournament, much of the conversation surrounding a relatively young Gabon side revolved around the likes of captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his fellow attackers, and after the skipper fired his side into the lead in the first half, it looked as though the hype around the Gabonese attack was justified. But for us, it was goalkeeper Didier Ovono, who plays his club football for Belgian outfit Oostende, who was the stand out player in that game, making save after save and ensuring that his side remained in the lead. The Burkina Faso attack did everything in their power to get back in the game, breaching the defence on a few occasions, but their frontline, especially Jonathan Pitroipa, found it difficult to get past the stopper. Didier Ovono was the difference between the sides in that game, and for that he makes the GSV Dream Team United.

Centre Back – Eric Mathoho Age: 24 Country: South Africa

Kaizer Chiefs Centre back Eric ‘Tower’ Mathoho missed out on his side’s opener against Algeria, and on his return to the side in their clash against Senegal, the Bafana Bafana defence appeared to be a more solid and organised unit. Allowing very little to get past him, Tower brought a certain calmness to the back line, and despite his side failing to keep a clean sheet, he personally gave a rock solid performance.

Right Centre Back – Kara Mbodj Age: 25 Country: Senegal

Kara Mbodj, who plays for KRC Genk in the Belgium Pro League, makes the side for his solid performances against both Ghana and Senegal. While putting in a shift in the Senegalese defence, Kara Mbodj also posses an aerial threat during set pieces, a threat that both Ghana and South Africa, who he scored against, found difficult to deal with. For his all round performance, Kara Mbodj makes our Dream Team back line.

Left Centre Back – Faouzi Ghoulam Age: 23 Country: Algeria

Napoli defender Ghoulam comes into the side on the back of two good performances. The first against South Africa, where he rounded his cool, calm performance off with a goal, and the second against Ghana, a game in which he and his fellow backliners were able to contain the Ghanaian attack right up until a stoppage time strike from Asamoah Gyan left. A young, solid defender, Ghoulam will be an important part of Algeria’s defence for years to come.

Central Midfielder – Youssouf Mulumbu Age: 28 Country: DR Congo

The match between Zambia and DR Congo saw an early goal from the Chipolopolo, a goal many thought they would go on and add to. But it wasn’t to be, as they went anonymous soon after, and struggled to gain meaningful possession of the ball. Youssouf Mulumbu, in the middle of the park for DR Congo, was one of the players who ensured that there was one way traffic for large portions of the game, getting involved in the physical side of the game as well as feeding the ball forward to keep the pressure on the Zambian defence.

Central Midfielder – Dean Furman Age: 26 Country: South Africa

Very few people who managed to watch Bafana Bafana’s clash against Algeria will argue against the fact that  despite the 3-1 final scoreline, Shakes Mashaba’s troops outplayed their opponents, and that the South Africans were particularly strong in the midfield areas. The partnership of Andile Jali and Dean Furman in the middle of the park allowed the attack minded players to play with freedom and a swagger about them, and for that ‘The Foreman’ comes into the side. His contribution in midfield against Senegal, where he complemented some neat tackling with surges into the attack, also warrant a spot for Doncaster Rovers’ ‘Foreman’ in our Dream Team midfield.

Left Attacking Midfielder – Yannick Bolasie Age: 25 Country: DR Congo

One of the most exciting talents on display at the Afcon tournament, Bolasie constantly poses an attacking threat. He is the type of player who can produce a moment of brilliance, and can inspire those around him with his trickery and effortless flair. His performance against Zambia, which led to him scoring the equalising goal, is indicative of the impact a player like Yannick can bring to the side.

Central Attacking Midfielder – Heldon Ramos Age: 26 Country: Cape Verde Islands

Not many people expected the Cape Verde Islands to start their clash against Tunisia in the manner that they did, not least the Tunisians themselves. But, inspired by Heldon Ramos and Kuca, they were able to pose the type of threat that made for entertaining viewing. While the penalty Heldon won and took himself to score the equaliser may have been a dubious one, the Sporting Lisbon man’s performance was deserving of a goal, and a spot on this week’s GSV Dream Team United.

Right Attacking Midfielder – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Age: 25 Country: Gabon

Captaining a young side is never an easy task, especially when you’re a relatively young lad yourself, and in Gabon’s opening game, Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang didn’t just captain, he led. In addition to scoring his side’s opening Afcon goal, he put in the kind of performance that showed his maturity and growth as a player, and for that, the speedster earns a spot on the Dream Team.

Forward – Emilio Nsue Age: 25 Country: Equatorial Guinea

The Equatorial Guinea side has gone through some changes in recent times. In addition to new management, the team has seen an influx of Spanish-born players coming into the side, players who have no experience on the African stage. They needed a leader, someone to lead from the front, and in the opening game of the tournament, Middlesbrough attacker Emilio Nsue stepped up to the plate. He scored, he captained, he led, and even though his second goal was judged to be offside in controversial circumstances, his performance was outstanding.

Forward – Bakary Sako Age: 26 Country: Mali

Well, that goal.

These are the 11 we think were a cut above the rest in the opening week of the Afcon spectacle. While we accept that quite a few players produced moments that were Dream Team worthy, we have chosen these 11 based on the reasons we have stated. Whether these players can produce enough to keep their place in the team or even their side’s place in the tournament remains to be seen.