Josko Gvardiol's impending transfer to Manchester City will go down as one of the biggest deals of the summer – and it promises to have long-lasting implications.
That's after it emerged RB Leipzig have opted to forego cash in favour of a more long-term agreement with the treble champions. Reining kings of Europe City have agreed to sign the Croatia international for £77million, making Gvardiol one of the most expensive defenders of all time.
It's been highlighted the deal doesn't include any add-ons or bonuses, meaning Manchester United's Harry Maguire will remain the Premier League's most expensive defensive signing. However, Leipzig will get some added value from the deal after an alternative kind of payment was arranged as part of Gvardiol's move.
And it could bring the two clubs closer together after it emerged Leipzig have arranged to play a friendly against City at an unknown date in the future. However, Leipzig will take all the money generated from the fixture, according to German newspaper BILD.
READ MORE: Man City finally agree Josko Gvardiol deal – and he's still cheaper than Harry Maguire
It could prove a masterstroke on City's part, with Pep Guardiola finally landing his top defensive target while relieving Gvardiol of the pressure that would have come with eclipsing Maguire's fee. As if City's defence wasn't impressive enough en route to clinching the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup crowns last season.
The 21-year-old is set to join Croat compatriot Mateo Kovacic at the Etihad as City's only two signings so far this summer. Gvardiol has earned rave reviews since joining Leipzig from Dinamo Zagreb in 2020, playing a part in the Croatia team that finished third in last year's World Cup.
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He also helped Die Roten Bullen into contention for last season's Bundesliga title before ultimately finishing five points behind Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
Leipzig will be eager to redeem themselves against City after they suffered a 7-0 drubbing at the English outfit's hands when they last met in Europe this past March. Gvardiol scored the equaliser against his soon-to-be employers when they drew 1-1 in the opening leg of their last-16 encounter, only for the Germans to come apart in dramatic fashion at the Etihad.
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Despite allowing Erling Haaland to score four in that landslide result, Gvardiol made enough of an impression to convince Guardiola of his talents. And the Catalan coach has had plenty of time to assess the youngster, who has featured in all four meetings between the two teams (all since 2021).
Guardiola also confirmed on Friday that Gvardiol was undergoing medical tests, adding he hoped the transfer would be wrapped up "in the next few days." That could put the Croat on course to feature in City's Premier League opener away to Vincent Kompany's Burnley on August 11, with a European Super Cup clash against Sevilla to come five days later.
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