Written By Onyeka Daniel
It’s been relatively quiet in the transfer market for English Premier League title defending champions, Manchester City who have only brought in Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea as a direct replacement for their captain, Ilkay Gundogan, who left the club to join Barcelona as a free agent.
Knowing Pep Guardiola, all that could change pretty soon as the Citizens close in on their second signing, RB Leipzig defender, Josko Gvardiol. The Croatian defender has been one of the most sought-after players in Europe this summer and Guardiola’s side seem to have won the race for the 21-year-old.
With Guardiola keen to refresh his defensive options, Gvardiol will tick a lot of boxes for the Premier League champions, that is not say that they don’t have enough players in that position.
He is coming off the back of a solid campaign with his German club and also with the Croatian national at the World Cup tournament late last year where they were knocked out by eventual winners, Argentina in the semi-final.
As Aymeric Laporte continues to be linked with a move away, Gvardiol looks to be a ready-made replacement. Confirming the news, Fabrizio Romano posted on Twitter: “Josko Gvardiol to Man City, here we go! Agreement reached on the fee between City and Leipzig,”
“Understand Gvardiol has completed the first part of medical tests today — deal on the verge of being signed. Gvardiol agreed personal terms one month ago with City.” The Croatian defender will become Man City’s second summer signing, but he’s not expected to be the last as the club are still looking for a replacement for Kyle Walker who is set to join Bayern Munich.
Man City already boasted one of the best defensive records in Europe and Gvardiol’s addition will only strengthen them in this department. It had previously been reported that Leipzig had been looking for at least €100million (£85.3million) plus bonuses for the Croatian international, but no figure has been given yet for this deal.
Spanish LaLiga side, Barcelona are preparing to make a move for City winger, Riyad Mahrez, but they be forced to pay a steep price, that is if the player decides to shun the advances from Saud Arabia and their huge salary offer.
Mahrez was left out of City’s travelling squad for their pre-season tour of the Far East. The 32-year-old winger, who joined City from Leicester in 2018 for £60m, was given permission to miss the tour after City received a fresh bid that met their valuation from Saudi Arabia.
But City would only allow him to leave for €40m (for Barcelona) or a straight swap involving former Leeds United winger, Raphinha. Raphinha joined Barcelona in a £55m move last summer and has 10 goals and 12 assists in 50 appearances for the club.
But Barca may be forced into selling with their well-publicised financial problems still affecting Xavi Hernandez’s transfer plans. At the moment, it all depends on Mahrez and where he would like to play next, remain in Europe and join Barcelona or move to the Middle East for the big pay, either way, City would want a replacement and they could make a play for Raphinha regardless.
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