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Manchester City agree £77m fee with RB Leipzig for Josko Gvardiol

By primenewsghana
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Manchester City have agreed a 90m euro fee (£77m) with RB Leipzig for Croatia defender Josko Gvardiol.

The deal for the 21-year-old does not include add-ons, meaning the £80m Manchester United paid Leicester City for Harry Maguire in 2019 remains the British record for a defender.

He has been a key player for Leipzig in the 87 games he played for them since signing from Dynamo Zagreb in 2021.

It is expected Gvardiol will fly to England for a medical later this week

The deal looked unlikely to be agreed last week when Leipzig insisted they would not sell for less than €100m (£86m).

Manager Pep Guardiola believes Gvardiol will strengthen the left side of his central defence and, with Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake also able to fill that position, his arrival may put the future of Aymeric Laporte at Etihad Stadium under the microscope.

Gvardiol, who is also able to play left-back, becomes City's second major signing of the summer following the arrival of fellow Croatian Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea in June for an initial £25m.

Kovacic will effectively replace Ilkay Gundogan in City's midfield after last season's captain joined Barcelona on a free transfer, while winger Riyad Mahrez moved to Saudi Arabia's Al-Ahli last week in a £30m deal.

Gvardiol, who has scored twice in his 21 caps for Croatia, helped his country finish third at the 2022 World Cup as well as runners-up to Spain in this year's Nations League.

He won back-to-back titles with Zagreb, signing off with a league and cup double before making his move to the Bundesliga.

Leipzig also twice qualified for the Champions League during Gvardiol's time in Germany as a result of their fourth and third-placed finishes in the Bundesliga.

The club that has sold him were effectively knocked out of the Champions League twice in the past two seasons by the club he has now joined.

Leipzig finished third in a group topped by City in 2021-22 and lost 8-1 over two legs in the round of 16 last season, including a 7-0 defeat at the Etihad.

Analysis - Signing will trigger Laporte exit

This is a fascinating deal.

City are signing one of the most highly rated young defenders in Europe.

They are privately delighted he has ended up costing less than Harry Maguire and - in their eyes - Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk given different exchange rates and inflation.

They wouldn't pay the 100m euros RB Leipzig wanted but they have met the Bundesliga club's demand to get the deal done early.

The move will trigger the exit of Aymeric Laporte.

But the interesting thing will be - like Jack Grealish and Kalvin Phillips in the previous two seasons - will a big-money move be followed by an unexpected amount of time on the bench?

After all, City have excellent central defenders already who are used to Pep Guardiola's inverted full-back strategy.

It certainly sends a signal the Treble winners are not resting on past glories.