Pep Guardiola is looking for a Fernandinho successor at Manchester City but Ilkay Gundogan will be key to the succession plan.
A holding midfielder remains a priority for the summer transfer window, with Fernandinho's 33-year-old legs suffering from the workload demanded by what is probably the most important position in Guardiola's system.
Ilkay Gundogan, then, will have a considerable role to play in the transition.
No City player has proven as competent at deputising for the oldest outfield player in Guardiola's squad and the German's versatility is proving key to City's bid for a maiden Premier League title retention.
Gundogan might be looked at as the jack of all trades among City's midfield options and that is probably what has prevented him from making a starting berth his own when Guardiola has a fully-fit squad of players to choose from.
The German’s ability to meet the demands of City's midfield system will remain vital to Guardiola's plans.
Interesting, though, will be how Gundogan's developing war of words with his manager develops over the summer.
It is atypical for a City player to go off-script under Guardiola but the City manager was far from impressed with Gundogan's assessment of the Champions League quarter-final defeat by Tottenham.
City should consider cashing in while a transfer fee remains obtainable for Gundogan, as replacing him could turn out to be as difficult as finding Fernandinho successor.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago