Major Man City move for dominant Liverpool target takes shape, with double exit to pave way
Fabrizio Romano has detailed which three positions Man City will address in the summer, and two exits could clear the deck ahead of a blockbuster move for an imperious Liverpool target.
While Man City and Liverpool have been each other’s biggest threat on the field in recent years, they’ve rarely squared off in the transfer market.
Virgil van Dijk aside, the two English giants have not stepped on each other’s toes in the windows. However, that could soon be about to change.
The pair are both confirmed admirers of Jude Bellingham whose future promises to be one of the most intriguing transfer sagas of the summer. Another superstar in each club’s sights is RB Leipzig’s dominant defender, Josko Gvardiol.
Fabrizio Romano recently confirmed City boss Pep Guardiola is a ‘big fan’ of the 21-year-old Croatian who shone for his country at the World Cup. Gvardiol also scored an equaliser against City in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 clash a fortnight ago.
Elsewhere, Liverpool reportedly ‘explored the conditions of a deal in January’. Gvardiol signed a contract extension with Leipzig on September 1 that includes a release clause that’ll activate in the summer of 2024 worth €110m (approx. £97.5m).
As such, the onus is on City, Liverpool and Chelsea to forge an agreement before that staggering clause kicks in. Chelsea previously bid £77.4m for Gvardiol last summer, per the Guardian.
Now, speaking via his YouTube channel, transfer guru Romano revealed there’s a “concrete” chance City stalwart Aymeric Laporte leaves the Etihad at season’s end.
As a left-footer, a Laporte exit would pave the way for City to go all out for Gvardiol who is also a left-footed centre-half.
Aside from a new centre-back, Romano also stressed a midfielder and a new wide forward is on City’s agenda.
To make room for the midfielder, Ilkay Gundogan may be the one to make way given his current deal expires in June. Both Laporte and Gundogan are wanted by Barcelona, as well as other as yet unnamed sides.
“It’s going to be a really important summer for Man City with many moves expected,” said Romano.
“I expect them to go for a new centre-back, a new midfielder and a new winger. There’ll be a lot of movements around Manchester City.
“We know they’re trying for Jude Bellingham and want Josko Gvardiol. I also want to speak about Aymeric Laporte who could leave Man City in the summer. This is a concrete possibility for Laporte to leave Man City.
“It’s true that Barcelona have an interest in the situation. They appreciate the player, though at the moment there’s nothing close.
“They are one of many clubs pursuing Laporte, it’s not just Barcelona. I’m told there are other clubs keen on signing Laporte, so let’s see what City decide, but I’m told it’s a possibility for Laporte to leave the club at the end of the season.”
Gundogan to follow Laporte out of Man City?
“Keep an eye on Gundogan,” continued Romano. “Gundogan is out of contract and has still not decided his future.
“Let’s keep it open on the contract extension side, but it’s true that Barcelona appreciate the player.
“I’m told there are also other clubs calling around to understand the conditions of a potential free agent deal for Gundogan.
“Keep an eye on Gundogan and keep an eye on Laporte.”
Romano concluded by again reiterating it’s a “really concrete” possibility Laporte will leave Man City over the summer.
If the 28-year-old does indeed depart, expect City to quickly ramp up their efforts to replace him with Gvardiol.
READ MORE: Man City and Man Utd hold talks over signing midfielder whose price has doubled, but Liverpool, Chelsea labelled ‘ones to watch’