Barcelona will sign Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan on a free transfer, with the 32-year-old midfielder’s contract at City expiring at the end of June. Gundogan rejected a new contract offer from City and is expected to agree to a more lucrative three-year deal with the Spanish football club.
A Crucial Contributor to Manchester City’s Success
Gundogan has been instrumental in Manchester City’s success, helping the squad achieve the Treble this season. In the 2022-23 season, the German midfielder participated in 51 games, scoring 11 vital goals, six of which came in the final seven games, including a game-winning brace in the 2-1 FA Cup final against Manchester United.
Gundogan played the whole 90-minute Champions League final, which City won 1-0 over Inter Milan, capping off a season in which they also won the Premier League and FA Cup. His departure comes after City agreed to a £30 million deal with Chelsea for Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic.
An Era Ends at City, A New Chapter Begins at Barca
Gundogan has been at the heart of City’s success since arriving from Borussia Dortmund for an estimated £20 million in 2016. He has appeared in 304 games for City, scoring 60 goals and helping the club win 14 trophies, including five Premier League crowns, one Champions League, two FA Cups, four Carabao Cups, and two Community Shields. Gundogan will leave a storied legacy at City, alongside David Silva, Yaya Toure, and Vincent Kompany.
At Barcelona, he is seen as a crucial addition to boost the team’s creativity and goal count from midfield, especially after losing Lionel Messi. Gundogan’s versatility, particularly his ability to operate in a deeper role, is highly valued by Barca, as they continue to navigate the post-Messi era.
Gundogan’s Exit – A Decision Based on Economics
Despite Gundogan’s importance to City’s recent success, the club decided not to match Barcelona’s cash offer for the German midfielder. City’s offer was a one-year contract with a second-year option, which fell short of Barcelona’s three-year agreement. However, City’s position as Treble winners, along with their ability to acquire top-tier talent, positions them well for the future.
The addition of Kovacic, who has won four major championships with Chelsea, including the Champions League in 2021, will almost certainly provide a valuable substitute for Gundogan. The Croatian’s deal is expected to be made official soon.
This pragmatic approach by City reflects their response to the economics of football, balancing player value against age and contract length. In any case, Gundogan’s departure signals the end of an era at City and the start of a new chapter in Barcelona.