August 3 – Manchester City have agreed a £77.6 million deal with RB Leipzig for centre-back Josko Gvardiol. The deal is not the highest ever for a centreback (Harry Maguire hold the record at £80 million) but it is more than Liverpool paid for Virgil van Dyke (£75 million).
The 21-year-old Croat was crucial to his nation’s 2022 FIFA World Cup fortune. He completed his move to Leipzig in summer 2021 for €18.8 million, where he won both DFB-Pokal trophies available to him in his time at the club. His market value now sits at €75 million according to Transfermarkt.
Gvardiol’s signing makes it a window of Croatian dominance for Man City following fellow countryman Mateo Kovacic’s £25 million+ move from Chelsea to Man City early in the summer transfer window.
The treble winners have already lost several key players this summer, as captain Ilkay Gundogan departed for Barcelona and Riyad Mahrez made the switch to Saudi Arabia. Bernardo Silva and Kyle Walker are also rumoured to be leaving.
Gvardiol is expected to occupy the left-back/centre-back transitional role currently manned by Nathan Ake for the sky blues.
Red Bull Leipzig have signed PSG youngster El Chadaille Bitshiabu to replace Gvardiol’s departure. The German club’s new defender has a very similar profile to their outgoing talent. Like Gvardiol, Bitshiabu is left-footed and comfortable on the left side of defence or in the middle, however he stands at a towering 1.97m high compared to Gvardiol’s 1.85m.
Manchester City are back in England after their pre-season tour of South-East Asia met its conclusion with a 2-1 loss to Atletico Madrid in South Korea at the end of July. Their next match: the traditional curtain-raiser for the new campaign against Arsenal in the Community Shield this Sunday.
Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at moc.l1709020936labto1709020936ofdlr1709020936owedi1709020936sni@o1709020936fni1709020936