Champions League winner admits he turned down Arsenal transfer as he fulfils childhood dream
Ilkay Gundogan opted to leave treble-winning Manchester City after a seven year stint in England
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A Champions League winning midfielder has admitted he turned down the chance to join Arsenal this summer in order to fulfil his childhood dream.
Ilkay Gundogan enjoyed a sensational seven-year stint at Manchester City where he established himself as a player for the big occasions.
The German midfielder won a combined total of five Premier League titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups. He also topped off this success by helping his team to a first-ever Champions League triumph in his final appearance.
Gundogan decided to seek a new challenge at the end of his Man City contract, this prompted interest from last year’s runners-up Arsenal who are managed by the German’s former coach Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal were determined to add the midfielder to their squad as they seek to end their 20-year drought without a top-flight title. But Gundogan turned down the opportunity to move to North London in favour of a transfer to Spanish champions Barcelona.
The midfielder told German outlet Bild that he joined the Nou Camp outfit to achieve his dream move and added that he would have considered staying at the Etihad if they had started contract discussions at an earlier date.
Gundogan said: "I’m honest. And many people don’t know this: In the end, it wasn’t about a year or two. There was no problem with the running time. City waited a relatively long time until the talks really intensified.
"If this had happened a little earlier, the situation would have been different. So in the end it was the perfect ending, it couldn’t have come at a better time. It was also my childhood dream to play for FC Barcelona."
The German midfielder has made an impressive start to life with the Spanish champions. He has started all four of his side's La Liga matches and helped the team to three victories and one draw.
He has also provided creativity in the midfield and has recorded two league assists so far. Gundogan will aim to win back-to-back Champions League titles this season and his side have been paired with FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and Royal Antwerp in the group.
If Gundogan is successful in his pursuit of Champions League glory this season then he would become the first player since Samuel Eto’o in 2009 to achieve the feat. Eto’o also remains the only footballer in history to win back-to-back trebles with two different clubs and he achieved this with Barcelona and Inter Milan.