Exclusive: Man City ready to sell senior star who wants out, as Guardiola eyes dominant Liverpool target as fearsome replacement
TEAMtalk has learned a high profile Man City star wants to leave and the club are prepared to cash in, while his replacement may come in the form of a dominant Liverpool target.
Fabrizio Romano recently reported Man City are sizing up a new centre-back, central midfielder and wide forward at season’s end.
However, it’s likely to be a case of one in, one out, and the transfer guru termed the chances of Aymeric Laporte leaving as “concrete”.
The 28-year-old is a four-time Premier League winner with City, though has fallen down the pecking order during an injury-riddled season this term.
Pep Guardiola appears to have settled on Nathan Ake as his No 1 left-footed option at centre-back. As such, speculation is beginning to grow Laporte’s time is up and Barcelona are known admirers.
Now, speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk, transfer insider Graeme Bailey revealed Laporte has asked to leave Man City.
Bailey added City are willing to sanction a sale and backed up the claims dominant Liverpool target, Josko Gvardiol, could be an extremely impressive replacement.
Laporte out, Gvardiol in?
“Barcelona and Manchester City could be doing quite a bit of business this summer,” said Bailey.
“Aymeric Laporte has made it clear to City that he wants to leave this summer having dropped down the pecking order.
“City are ready to let him go, he is a big earner and it would allow them to bring in reinforcements – one of which could be Josko Gvardiol.
“Laporte also knows his preferred destination and that is Barcelona, who are looking to bolster their left-sided options.”
RB Leipzig’s Gvardiol is already one of world football’s premier centre-halves despite being just 21.
Liverpool and Chelsea have both been heavily linked with the Croatian of late. The Guardian reported Chelsea saw a £77.4m bid for Gvardiol knocked back last summer.
Gvardiol signed a new contract with Leipzig in September of last year that came with a release clause that’ll activate in 2024. The clause’s value is understood to be worth €110m (approx. £97.5m).
As such, the onus is on Gvardiol’s heavyweight suitors to forge a deal in 2023 before Leipzig’s position is strengthened through the clause becoming active.
In the event City sell Laporte, they’ll free up both space in their squad as well as funds to push for Gvardiol.
Barcelona to make it a Man City double?
Elsewhere, Bailey insisted a Laporte switch to Barcelona might not be the only piece of business between City and Pep’s former club.
“Should a deal for Laporte be finalised, that may not be the only deal between the clubs,” continued Bailey.
“Bernardo Silva made it clear to City’s hierarchy last summer that he wanted to move and join Barcelona, and that sentiment has not changed.
“City and Pep Guardiola made it clear that they would not deal then, but would give it another season.
“Silva is one deal that could still happen if he and Barcelona remain as keen as they were on a deal last summer and there is nothing to suggest that they have backed away.”
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