Manchester City has given Ilkay Gundogan permission to leave the club.
The 31-year-old joined City on a four-year agreement from Borussia Dortmund in 2016 and is closing in on a fourth Premier League title with City, which will be confirmed with a win over Aston Villa on the last day of the season.
That would make Gundogan the most successful German footballer in Premier League history, although, despite City’s increasingly demanding workload, his appearances as a regular starter have reduced this season.
The German has made 42 appearances in all competitions, scoring eight goals, but has started just over half of the 26 Premier League games he has played in, demonstrating Pep Guardiola’s remarkable depth.
While the club insists that any negotiations will take place in the summer, it is understood that the player has been informed that an extension to his current contract is improbable.
And, considering Gundogan’s service, he has been granted the opportunity to explore other possibilities with a year remaining on his contract.
The German international, which cost £21 million in 2016, was sighted in Manchester Airport’s private jet terminal on Monday morning.
Real Madrid had previously tried to sign the 31-year-old while he was with Borussia Dortmund, but the purpose of his trip was unknown, as City’s players had been given two days free ahead of what is believed to be a title decider against Aston Villa on Sunday.
Gundogan has been in Manchester for six years, living next door to his boss in a city-center flat and spending time with him outside of work.
He is a significant member of the squad, one of five vice captains, and Fernandinho’s deputy.
He recently spoke to this publication about his sadness following the club’s late Champions League semi-final defeat to Real Madrid earlier this month.
If City wins the Premier League and Gundogan decides to leave, he will be the most successful German in Premier League history, with four medals to his name. He is already his country’s highest scorer in the English Premier League.
Despite giving Gundogan permission to leave, City does not regard him as a priority, especially as club captain Fernandinho has already expressed his intention to leave at the end of the season.
City has already agreed to recruit Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, as well as River Plate forward Julian Alvarez, for next season, and they’re also interested in soon-to-be West Ham club captain Declan Rice, with a deal becoming more likely if Gundogan does go.