Manchester City is reportedly close to signing Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig in an agreement worth $115 million. The deal would make the center-back the most expensive defender in the history of the sport. Gvardiol would potentially become the club’s second summer signing behind fellow countryman Mateo Kovacic. The Croatian midfielder joined the Premier League champions in June for around $32 million.

Gvardiol will eclipse Harry Maguire as the most expensive defender in soccer history. The England international cost Manchester United around $95 million when he joined from Leicester in 2019. City fans will be hoping that their new Croatian defender will have a better time in Manchester than Maguire.

Josko Gvardiol brings ample skill set to City

The soon-to-be former Leipzig player is widely considered the best young central defender in the world at the moment. The Croatia international previously joined Leipzig from Dinamo Zagreb in 2021 for a fee of about $22 million. A versatile defender, Gvardiol typically operates as a center-back. However, the youngster has also been deployed at left back as well.

This versatility certainly caught the eye of manager Pep Guardiola. The Spanish coach enjoys putting center-backs out wide as full-backs and even asking them to step into central midfield as well. John Stones, a traditional center-back, regularly moved into midfield throughout the second half of the 2022/23 season.

Move could force sale of Spanish center-back

Manchester City is splashing the cash on Gvardiol despite having a plethora of options at the position. Along with the aforementioned Stones, the club also has Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake, Manuel Akanji, and Aymeric Laporte in central defense. Nevertheless, only Ake and Laporte favor the left foot like Gvardiol. As the Croatian enters the fray, Laporte could exit this summer. Reports have even surfaced that the Spaniard could soon return to LaLiga side Athletic Club.

Leipzig has so far endured a fairly tough summer transfer period. Along with Gvardiol, the Bundesliga side has also sold attacking duo Christopher Nkunku and Dominik Szoboszlai to Premier League clubs as well. However, the German team has also spent around $140 million on reinforcements.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Lackovic