Ilkay Gündogan is fit and available for selection in this weekend’s Manchester derby, according to a report in The Guardian.
Gündogan suffered a freak injury playing basketball in May, but Pep Guardiola was so convinced by his abilities that he went ahead and recruited the Germany international from Borussia Dortmund even with the knowledge he’d miss the start of the new season.
After a long recovery, 25-year-old midfielder Gündogan can now be called upon by Pep. The question is whether a high intensity game like United vs City is the right moment to debut the player in the Premier League, with Guardiola not short of options in midfield.
Another dilemma facing the City boss is who will start in the centre of defence. Nicolas Otamendi is expected to return from international duty late on Thursday, and with the derby a Saturday lunchtime kick-off, it will give the Argentine a short window in which to recover and prepare.
Two options to partner John Stones at the back are Aleksandar Kolarov, who has performed better than anyone could have expected in the role, or captain Vincent Kompany. Kompany is just about ready to return and came through a 50 minute training match unscathed recently, but like Gündogan, it would be risky to reintroduce him in such an intense game. Kolarov, too, could be a risk in the role as he would be up against a more impressive attack than he has faced so far.
Another player who is ready to debut is Leroy Sané, but a role on the bench is most likely for the youngster this weekend with City boasting so many attacking options even in the absence of the suspended Sergio Aguero.