Ilkay Gundogan is ready to run down his Manchester City contract despite enjoying life with the Premier League champions.
The Germany international midfielder has 18 months left on his current deal and has put his reputation for being injury-prone behind him after making changes to his lifestyle.
But, despite being a valued part of coach Pep Guardiola’s squad and collecting a Premier League medal, the 28-year-old is in no rush to commit to a longer-term stay at City, aware that his next contract could be his final ‘big one’ as a top-level player.
The Etihad club are likely to want to keep the former Borussia Dortmund man, but he told German publication Bild he is keeping his options open.
“It’s become the norm that a player who has another year on his contract period has a decision between separation or extension,” he said.
“I’m a little old-fashioned. It’s possible that I will go to the last year of my contract and then extend.
“Maybe the next one will be my last big contract, so such a decision must be well considered.
“We have already had one or two talks. I do not feel there is pressure on the subject.
“In sporting terms, I’m very satisfied with City – there are less attractive jobs in Europe!
“In this regard, there is nothing to prevent an extension. But nothing is decided yet.”
Gundogan says he has made improvements to his lifestyle to ensure his fitness.
But, when asked if he is in the best form of his career, he said: “It’s hard to judge if I’m the best Gundogan ever.
“I also had very good periods at Dortmund.
“In the meantime, however, I also realise that I have to pay close attention to my body. I need to sleep well – at least seven hours – and eat well.”
City are in FA Cup action on Saturday (5:30pm GMT/12:30pm US ET) in their fifth-round tie with Newport County.