Manchester City ‘schedule fresh Josko Gvardiol talks’

Manchester City reportedly schedule a fresh round of talks with RB Leipzig to discuss a move for Josko Gvardiol, having failed with an opening bid of €75m (£64.1m).

Manchester City have reportedly scheduled a fresh round of talks with RB Leipzig over a move for Croatian centre-back Josko Gvardiol.

The Citizens are believed to have made great strides in their efforts to bring the 21-year-old to the Etihad in recent weeks as Pep Guardiola aims to bolster his backline further.

RB Leipzig sporting director Max Eberl has admitted that Gvardiol is keen to join Guardiola’s side this summer, having seen a proposed move to the Premier League with Chelsea break down last year.

The former Dinamo Zagreb man has continued to go from strength to strength in the Bundesliga over the past 12 months, but he has made no secret of his desire to play in the Premier League one day.

However, Die Roten Bullen are protected by Gvardiol’s contract situation, as the defender is not due to become a free agent until 2027, having penned an extension back in September.

Josko Gvardiol celebrates scoring for RB Leipzig on February 22, 2023© Reuters

According to journalist Fabrizio Romano, City recently made their first bid of €75m (£64.1m) plus add-ons, but the offer fell some way below Leipzig’s asking price of €100m (£85.4m) and was therefore rejected.

City are not throwing in the towel, though, and the treble-winners are now expected to hold a new round of talks with Leipzig next week in the hope of edging closer to an agreement.

Man City are already understood to have agreed personal terms with Gvardiol, who has made 87 appearances for Leipzig since arriving from Dinamo Zagreb for a modest €18.8m (£16.1m) in 2021.

The 21-year-old has scored five goals and set up three more in the process, helping Die Roten Bullen clinch successive DFB-Pokal crowns in his first two seasons at the club.

A productive 2022-23 campaign saw Gvardiol make the net ripple three times in 41 matches across all competitions, including the equalising goal against Man City in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, which Guardiola’s side went on to win 7-1 on aggregate.

Croatia's Josko Gvardiol pictured at the World Cup on December 9, 2022© Reuters

The 2002-born centre-back has also become one of the first names on the team sheet for Croatia and was a standout performer at the 2022 World Cup, playing every minute of the tournament and scoring in his nation’s third-placed playoff win over Morocco.

Guardiola is spoiled for choice at the back, but a question mark is hanging over the head of Aymeric Laporte, who has been linked with a move away from the Etihad for a number of months now.

The Spain international started just 11 Premier League games last season, and all of Arsenal, Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa have been credited with an interest.

Laporte’s contract at the Etihad runs for another two years, and Man City would reportedly be happy to accept a €30m (£25.6m) fee to part ways with the 29-year-old this summer.

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