Manchester City is looking to add yet another top defender to an already-packed list of center backs, as it holds talks with RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol. City currently has Ruben Dias, John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake and Manuel Akanji in central defense.
Football Insider reports that the two clubs are currently negotiating a deal for the highly rated player. Gvardiol is widely considered to be one of the top young defenders in all of Europe. The 21-year-old center back has been a mainstay in Leipzig’s team since arriving in 2021. He also played every match for Croatia during the 2022 World Cup. The Blazers finished third in the tournament in Qatar.
Defender, coach talked after match in March
Gvardiol previously revealed that he has even spoken with City manager Pep Guardiola. The two talked after the English side knocked out Leipzig in the Champions League round of 16 in March.
“I extended my hand to Guardiola in the Champions League. I congratulated him on going through,” Gvardiol told Net HR. “Guardiola, a great coach, threw a few words at me. But I will keep them to myself.”
Signing the stellar center back will not be easy. Gvardiol is a key player for Leipzig and it does not necessarily want to sell him this summer. The youngster also just signed a long-term deal with the club in September that keeps him under contract until 2027. This means that City, or any other team, will have to pay up to pry Gvardiol away from Leipzig.
Rival clubs join Manchester City in race for Josko Gvardiol
The Croatian defender has a release clause of about $118 million that will not go into effect until next summer. However, Leipzig will surely be quoting clubs a fee not too far from this release clause.
Fellow Premier League sides Chelsea and Liverpool have also been linked with Gvardiol in recent months. The center back has even previously labeled Liverpool as his “dream club.” Nevertheless, it certainly seems as if City is currently in the pole position to grab Gvardiol. Further discussions are expected to continue following the Champions League final on Saturday.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Motivio
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