Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Arsenal, Man City both beaten as midfielder completes surprise move with eye-watering clause

Mikel Arteta and PEp Guardiola

Mikel Arteta and Pep Guardiola

Barcelona have officially announced the signing of Ilkay Gundogan on a free transfer after the expiry of his contract at Manchester City. 

The 32-year-old enjoyed an incredible final season at the Etihad, captaining the Cityzens to a historic treble under Pep Guardiola.

It’s been reported that the manager offered Gundogan a new contract at Man City. However, the midfielder ultimately opted to take on a fresh challenge with Barcelona. This comes as somewhat a surprise, given the level of success he enjoyed last season.

This came after several other clubs also attempted to sign him. For example, Arsenal were very interested in Gundogan, while Saudi clubs also offered him huge proposals.

Overall, the Germany international made 304 appearances for the club, scoring 60 goals and making 40 assists.

In the process, he helped Man City to achieve unparalleled success. Indeed, Gundogan played a key role as Man City lifted five Premier League titles, a Champions League, two FA Cups and four League cups.

Now, Gundogan departs after the Cityzens have arguably become by far the best team in Europe. The supporters will no doubt be sad to see their captain go, but it will be interesting to see how he performs with Barcelona.

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Barca place €400m release clause in Gundogan deal

Gundogan’s arrival has been announced on the official Barcelona website.

In an official club statement, they said: “FC Barcelona and Ilkay Gündoğan have reached an agreement for the German international to sign for the Catalans now that his contract with Manchester City has ended.

“Gundogan will join for two seasons, through to 30 June 2025, with the option to stay for one more year. His buyout clause has been set at €400m (£342m).

“The club shall shortly be announcing the details of his official presentation. Gündoğan turns 33 next October 24 and has a long and distinguished football career behind him.”

Man City also wrote their own tribute to Gundogan on their website, mentioning some of his most memorable moments in a Sky Blue shirt.

“In the final game of the 2021/22 Premier League season, it was Gundogan’s dramatic late brace that completed a stunning turnaround from 2-0 down to seal a 3-2 win over Aston Villa and so seal the Premier League title.

“Likewise, Ilkay struck twice again in the 2023 FA Cup final to help City beat Manchester United 2-1 in the first-ever all-Manchester showpiece, with the German’s sensational volleyed opener on 12 seconds becoming the quickest goal in FA Cup final history.

“The 2020/21 campaign saw Gundogan’s best-ever goal return, as he claimed 17 goals in total to help City win both the Premier League and Carabao Cup.

“Amongst them was a brace that helped underscore a 4-1 win at Liverpool in February 2021 – City’s first league success at Anfield since 2003.”

Gundogan has described his time at Man City as a “pleasure and a privilege” and says the 2022/23 campaign was the “greatest experience of [his] career.

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