Manchester City completed their long-awaited swoop for top transfer target Josko Gvardiol, the Premier League club announced on Saturday.
The 21-year-old defender joins from RB Leipzig after signing a five-year contract. The treble winners agreed a transfer fee worth €90 million (£77 million) to seal the deal, according to Simon Stone of BBC Sport.
“I have always dreamed of one day playing in England and to be doing so now with Manchester City – after the season they have just had – is a real honor for me,” Gvardiol said after joining the reigning Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League winners. “Anyone who saw Manchester City play last season knows they are the best team in the world. To win the treble says everything you need to know about the quality this team has.”
“To have the chance to work with Pep Guardiola, too, will be amazing for me,” Gvardiol added. “I know I am not yet the finished article and I am sure my game will progress under the best coach in football.”
Gvardiol’s arrival was billed as potentially representing a world-record fee for a defender. But, since the agreement with Leipzig doesn’t include add-ons, Manchester United’s £80-million deal to sign Harry Maguire from Leicester City in 2019 remains the benchmark.
Gvardiol’s move to the Etihad Stadium appeared to be in limbo in July when Leipzig sporting director Max Eberl dismissed reports of an agreement. He also stated Gvardiol wouldn’t be sold for less than €100 million. The two sides eventually came to a compromise.
His addition will strengthen the left side of Guardiola’s central defense while potentially creating uncertainty over the future of Aymeric Laporte.
Along with playing a pivotal role in Croatia’s third-place finish at the 2022 World Cup, Gvardiol appeared in 30 Bundesliga matches to help Leipzig finish third.
Gvardiol is Manchester City’s second marquee signing of the summer following the arrival of fellow Croatian international Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea in June.
“To be linking up with Mateo Kovacic will also be special,” Gvardiol said. “He’s a top footballer and I hope we can both help City achieve another successful season in 2023-24 and then beyond.”