Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Man City delay Ake sale to Chelsea after facing double obstacle in pursuit of Josko Gvardiol as successor

Josko Gvardiol representing RB Leipzig

Josko Gvardiol is one of the main targets Manchester City have in mind to replace Nathan Ake, according to reports.

Ake is currently being targeted by his former club Chelsea for a summer transfer. He is effectively fourth choice at the Etihad Stadium, behind Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones. At Chelsea, in contrast, there would be a bigger role for him.

The west London outfit have said goodbye to Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen this summer. Therefore, they need at least one – but probably two – new starting centre-backs.

Ake appeals to his former employers, which means Manchester City may have to start planning for life without him. After making 27 appearances in all competitions last season, he is an important member of their squad, even though there are three players above him in the hierarchy.

Hence, City would need to find a replacement if they agree to send Ake in the same direction as Raheem Sterling, who should also be joining Chelsea.

According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea remain in talks with City over a £45m move for Ake. However, one stumbling block at present is the fact that the Premier League champions want to line up a successor to the Dutchman first.

In that regard, one of their main options would be RB Leipzig centre-half Gvardiol.

Like Ake, he is left-footed, so he would be a like-for-like replacement. What’s more, at the age of 20, he has plenty of margin for growth.

Leipzig set tough stance

Therefore, he is someone whom City could be willing to invest in. However, it has only been a year since his transfer to Leipzig, who are therefore not going to make it easy for his suitors.

Indeed, the Mail note that Gvardiol may be too expensive during the current transfer window. The situation would only complicate if the Croatia international signs a contract extension with Leipzig, too.

His current terms with the Bundesliga side are due to last until 2026, as per the deal he signed last summer. Leipzig are already ready to reward him for his positive debut season, in which he managed to register 46 appearances, two goals and three assists.

It is expected that Gvardiol will agree to a renewal. In turn, that would put City’s pursuit – and potentially Ake’s exit – on hold.

Josko Gvardiol a good option for the long term

But money talks and Man City have more of it than many other clubs. Therefore, only time will tell if they can make a big push for Gvardiol.

The former Dinamo Zagreb youngster is a player with high potential. He has already established himself in one of Europe’s best leagues and has plenty of time to take further steps.

He would be a good reinforcement for City, although perhaps it would be preferable to keep developing with the gametime he is getting in Germany.

In the future, though, he may be someone City wish to revisit.

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