Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Exclusive: Man City know who Guardiola favourite will join after three Euro giants make their move

Man City midfielders Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin de Bruyne

An impending Man City free agent has an offer to remain at the Etihad, though three Euro giants are circling and TEAMtalk has learned who’s likeliest to win the race.

Only a handful of Man City stars have been at the Etihad throughout the entirety of Pep Guardiola’s seven-year tenture. Among the chosen few is Ilkay Gundogan, with the German veteran always a dependable performer when called upon.

Even the switch to a 3-2-4-1 formation hasn’t jettisoned Gundogan from Guardiola’s plans. Indeed, he’s been deployed in a more advanced role in 2023 and captains the side after being named skipper following Fernandinho’s departure last summer.

However, Gundogan’s current contract expires at the end of the season and now aged 32, there’s been speculation his time may be up.

Barcelona are known to be tracking Gundogan and his potential availability as a free agent makes him an even more attractive prospect for the cash-strapped Spaniards.

Spanish outlet AS recently reported Gundogan has not been receptive to City’s attempts to tie him down to a new deal.

However, speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk, transfer insider Graeme Bailey has painted a different picture.

Bailey told us Gundogan is simply not rushing into a decision due to his love of the club. We understand Gundogan does have a City extension on the table, though is biding his time before reaching a decision on what’s to come after this season.

Bailey revealed PSG and Bayern Munich too have made approaches to Gundogan and his camp. However, if the classy midfielder does decide to leave Man City, it’s Barcelona who are likeliest to win the race.

“City and Gundogan are on great terms and they are not forcing the situation,” said Bailey. “If he wants to stay, there is that option, but City also know he is talking to others.

“Barcelona are increasingly confident they can get Gundogan. They have been talking to him all year and even with their own financial issues off the field, they are pushing to get this over the line.

“Gundogan also has approaches from Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, but if he does leave City, Barcelona firmly believe he is going to Spain.”

EURO PAPER TALK: Guardiola to leave Man Utd, Arsenal stunned as Man City swoop in for brilliant La Liga ace and offer him ‘significant role’; Man Utd face Juventus competition for midfield capture