Barcelona’s pursuit of Ilkay Gundogan has hit a snag with the midfielder close to agreeing a new contract with Manchester City, according to the Times.
The La Liga club have identified Gundogan as a crucial target to bolster their midfield options.
Gundogan’s current contract will expire at the end of the season, making him an attractive prospect for Barcelona.
The German midfielder reportedly favoured Barcelona’s three-year contract offer over Manchester City’s one-year renewal proposal.
However, following his impressive performances towards the end of the season, the English champions are now prepared to keep him.
Man City’s renewed proposal will likely include a lengthier contract, which could sway Gundogan’s decision.
The new offer would reportedly extend Gundogan’s contract until 2024 with an option for another year.
Man City manager Pep Guardiola has publicly expressed his desire to retain Gundogan’s services this summer.
His potential contract extension at Man City would be a significant blow to Barcelona as they have struggled to find suitable alternatives in the market.
They have been linked with Joshua Kimmich, Martin Zubimendi and Ruben Neves. The high costs associated with these options have forced the club to prioritise Sofyan Amrabat as their primary target.
Despite the setback, Barcelona are unlikely to give up entirely. The La Liga club will continue to persuade Gundogan to move to Catalonia after a successful spell in Manchester.
The Catalans remain hopeful they can convince the midfielder to join their ranks, even though a prolonged stay in Manchester seems increasingly likely.