Gundogan's future to become clear
Ilkay Gundogan’s future is set to be decided this month, Borussia Dortmund CEO Aki Watzke has told Der Westen.
Gundogan has not played a minute of first-team football since August 2013, leading to suggestions his career could be in jeopardy.
On Monday, the German football weekly kicker ran a story on the midfielder, who has been out of action since suffering a back injury last summer.
In January 2014, it appeared that the 23-year might return to first-team action, however bronchitis disrupted his winter training camp.
An inflamed nerve then prolonged his absence, leading to uncertainty about whether Gundogan would be back in time for the 2014 World Cup.
Germany coach Joachim Loew told kicker: "The most important thing now is that Ilkay becomes pain free and can return to team training in Dortmund.
"You shouldn’t rush it. Ilkay is still young, he can play a lot of international tournaments. When he gets healthy, the future is his."
Gundogan is continuing with his rehabilitation, although could face surgery which would delay his return -- and the potential setback has led to rumours in Germany that his career could be coming to an end.
However, Thomas Hennecke, the author of the kicker piece, tweeted on Monday: "He will return. Certainly. Everyone I talked to said speculations about an early career end are stark nonsense."
Gundogan is currently under contract at Dortmund until 2015, and he has been linked with several European top clubs including Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
With Dortmund wanting to avoid losing another star name on a free transfer, like Bayern Munich-bound Robert Lewandowski, Watzke has told Der Westen that a decision about Gundogan’s future is imminent.
“I am under the impression that everyone involved now knows that a decision has to be made this month. Let’s see what this decision will be,” Watzke said, but did not gave away if he has hope that the midfielder will prolong his stay in Dortmund.
“If I had [an idea], I would not tell you,” he added.