Man City finally agree near-record transfer deal for RB Leipzig ace Gvardiol

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Manchester City are set to sign Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig (Image: Getty Images)
Manchester City are set to sign Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig (Image: Getty Images)

Manchester City have finally agreed a deal with RB Leipzig for Josko Gvardiol as Pep Guardiola continues to bolster his squad ahead of the new campaign.

Gvardiol, 21, is set to sign a long-term contract at the Etihad Stadium, with City expected to pay Leipzig a fixed fee of £78million for the highly-rated centre-back. The transfer will fall just short of a record-transfer for a defender after Manchester United paid Leicester £80m for Harry Maguire in 2019.

City see Gvardiol as a force who can be involved for at least the next decade and his arrival is expected to be confirmed before the Community Shield against Arsenal on Sunday. The Croatia international is not in the squad for Wednesday's pre-season double-header Sint-Truidense and Altglienicke, although he is in the stands.

Gvardiol could make his City debut in the game against the Gunners at Wembley should he be signed in time. If not, the Leipzig defender will be eyeing up City's opening Premier League fixture when they travel to Vincent Kompany's Burnley in the season's curtain-raiser on Friday, August 11.

Guardiola will be hoping Gvardiol can follow a similar path to Kompany, who made 360 appearances and won several major trophies during an illustrious 11-year spell at City. Gvardiol's former side, Dinamo Zagreb, are set to receive 20% of the transfer fee after the centre-back came through the club's academy.

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He played 52 matches for Zagreb, winning the Croatian top division on two occasions before earning himself a move to Leipzig in 2021. Ironically, Gvardiol made his Champions League debut in their 6-3 defeat against City but Leipzig's form soon improved as they ended up winning the DFB-Pokal later that season.

Man City finally agree near-record transfer deal for RB Leipzig ace GvardiolJosko Gvardiol made 42 appearances for RB Leipzig last season (Getty Images)

But it wasn't until the 2022/23 when Gvardiol really hit his stride and showed why many European sides were after his services. He impressed at the World Cup as Croatia finished third, before producing some incredible performances for Leipzig, with Gvardiol named in the VDV Bundesliga Team of the Season for his efforts.

City are now set to have Gvardiol at their disposal as they look to defend the Premier League for the third successive season. Guardiola's side are also the reigning Champions League and FA Cup winners after romping to those two trophies in June to complete the historic treble. Gvardiol is also City's second arrival of the summer following Mateo Kovacic's move from Chelsea last month.

Gvardiol will add more depth to City's centre-back department which includes John Stones, Nathan Ake, Aymeric Laporte, Manuel Akanji and Ruben Dias. Guardiola selected a team which consisted of four central defenders for the Champions League final, with Stones in defensive midfield and Ake, Dias and Akanji in a back-three.

The City boss will be delighted to add someone of Gvardiol's ability to his squad, as the defender would slot straight into that system with ease. Joao Cancelo, Rico Lewis, Kyle Walker, Joshua Wilson-Esbrand and Sergio Gomez are other defensive options Guardiola has to selected from against Arsenal.

Kieran King

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