Man City star Ilkay Gundogan’s move to Barcelona rumored to be sealed, Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic likely to replace 32-year-old at Etihad

Manchester City’s treble-winning captain, Ilkay Gundogan, has unfortunately not received an extension following his contract expiration at the conclusion of the 2022-23 season and is reportedly on his way to join La Liga champions FC Barcelona.

The 32-year-old German international joined the Premier League champions in 2016 from Borussia Dortmund for a meager fee of €27 million. Having spent nearly 8 years at the Etihad, Gundogan is on his way out of the club as a free agent; Pep Guardiola is reportedly considering Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic as a potential replacement.

Update on Ilkay Gundogan’s move to Barcelona

With his contract set to expire at the end of June, Gundogan was in negotiations with City over a new contract. However, the 32-year-old was hesitant to sign the offer because it only lasted for one year with a 12-month extension. 

The midfielder appears to have reached an agreement with Barcelona to sign a three-year contract and move from Manchester City on a free transfer.

Although neither club has publicly confirmed the transfer, City has taken a realistic stance due to the 32-year-old’s advanced age and the lengthy contract he requested.

Barcelona director Mateu Alemany had reportedly flown to Germany to finalize the Gundogan deal. According to Fabrizio Romano, Mateu said “This has just begun” upon returning.

In his seven seasons with City, the pivotal German midfielder has won the Premier League five times, the FA Cup twice, the League Cup four times, and the Champions League once. Pep Guardiola believes Mateo Kovacic would be the perfect replacement for the decorated 32-year-old.

How will Mateo Kovacic fit in Pep Guardiola’s system?

The 29-year-old Croatian international is expected to bolster City’s options in the heart of midfield and will arrive for an initial fee of £25 million, potentially rising to £30 million. In 491 games at club level, Kovacic has scored 24 goals, while Gundogan has scored 110 in 557 games.

But he brings a wealth of experience that Pep Guardiola would miss after losing Ilkay Gundogan, including four Champions League titles (three with Real Madrid). 

While he shares Gundogan’s ability to play further forward despite a preference for a more defensive role, he has a lower appearance/goal contribution ratio (7 games/goal) than the 32-year-old German (3 games/goal).

What do you think of these exciting new changes in Manchester City’s midfield? Let me know more about your thoughts in the comments section.

Tanzeem Rahman

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Tanzeem Rahman is a soccer writer and an editor at SportsZion. Tanzeem's love for the sport began by watching and admiring Cristiano Ronaldo in his early Manchester United days. Having graduated from Germany as an Electrical Engineer, Tanzeem has watched multiple high-profile games throughout Europe from the gallery. His knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport, as well as sublime english proficiency has been an asset to SportsKnot. Outside of his duty, Tanzeem is a gamer, and loves to spend time watching Anime and reading Manga.


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