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Manchester City agree £77m fee for Gvardiol

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 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 Leipzig when 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 and runners-up to Spain in this year’s Nations League.

He also 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 the Germany as they finished fourth and third in the Bundesliga. —BBC

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