Man City finally agree huge signing after ‘here we go’ fears – fee ‘less than’ Maguire to Man Utd

Jason Soutar
Josko Gvardiol competes against Erling Haaland during a match.
Josko Gvardiol is set to join Erling Haaland at Manchester City.

Manchester City have reportedly agreed a fee with RB Leipzig for Josko Gvardiol, who will not become the most expensive defender in the world.

Gvardiol is one of the best young defenders in world football and displayed his incredible ability at the 2022 World Cup with Croatia.

Unfortunate not to be named Young Player of the Tournament, the 21-year-old helped his nation reach the semi-finals in Qatar.

He was signed by Leipzig from Dinamo Zagreb for €18.8million in July 2021 and the German outfit will make a huge profit when his move to the European champions is finalised.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano said “here we go” for the transfer out of the blue on July 19 but this was refuted by Leipzig’s sporting director Max Eberl saying a deal is not close to being completed.

Fast forward to Wednesday and the Italian journalist says both clubs are “ironing out final details” with a medical to take place on Friday if all goes to plan.

He wrote on Twitter: “Manchester City and Leipzig are ironing out final details of agreement for Josko Gvardiol deal — to be signed by end of the week.

“Player to have medical on Friday, if all goes to plan. Deal in place for €90m fee, Gvardiol set to become the most expensive CB ever.”

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Romano reckons this transfer will make Gvardiol the priciest centre-back in football history, but reports elsewhere suggest that is not the case.

In fairness, he is dealing in Euros (90m), which is a higher figure than the Harry Maguire deal (87m). The exchange rate has obviously changed since 2019.

BBC journalist Simon Stone says City have agreed to pay £77million – with no add-ons – for the Croatian international, which is less than the £80m fee Manchester United paid to sign Maguire from Leicester City four years ago.

Leipzig had initially asked for around £86m which cast doubt over the transfer.

Gvardiol will bolster an already incredible Manchester City defence and starting XI.

Nathan Ake and Manuel Akanji were both superb as a left-back/left-centre-back in Pep Guardiola’s dynamic system but Gvardiol is a level above both players.

His arrival does cast doubt over the future of Aymeric Laporte, who will now fall even further down the pecking order.

Meanwhile, full-back Joao Cancelo is expected to depart and has been strongly linked with Barcelona after an underwhelming loan spell with Bayern Munich.

Speaking recently, Gvardiol’s Croatia teammate Mateo Kovacic said he would “like” to see the young defender join him at the Etihad.

“He’s ready for Man City step,” Kovacic said (quotes via Fabrizio Romano). “He can come to City and learn and be the best version of himself. I’d obviously like it!

“I’m a good friend with Josko and he’s Croatian. It would be nice to have a Croatian by my side here.”

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