Barcelona moves: Ilkay Gundogan leaves Man City after UCL win, signs three-year deal at Barca
Ilkay Gundogan has left Manchester City to sign the German international as a free agent Barcelona on a contract that could run for three years. The 32-year-old, who City wanted to keep, was interested in Saudi Arabia and was courted by Arsenal, but leaving the Treble winners opted to pursue a career in La Liga, where he agreed to a two-year contract. with the option of a further 12 month extension.
His buyout clause has been set at €400 million with Barcelona adding a veteran presence to their midfield who can ease the burden on the young duo of Pedri and Gavi. He also reunites with former Borussia Dortmund teammate Robert Lewandowski.
Gundogan’s seven years in the Premier League saw him etched into City lore, particularly for the brace he scored on the final day of the season as his side overturned a deficit two goals against Aston Villa to win the fourth of his five Premier Leagues. titles. Gundogan departs after captaining City to just the second treble – Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League – won by an English side, himself scoring the opening goal 12 seconds into the FA Cup final. FA.
In an article in the Players’ Tribune, Gundogan said, “If I was going to move, there’s only one club in the world that would make sense. It was Barcelona or something. that shirt once. I am confident that I have a few more years left at the highest level, and I just want to bring Barcelona back to where they deserve to be. It will be a reunion with my old friend Lewa, and I’m excited to be playing under another manager who I have admired for a long time. When Xavi and I discussed the project, he was ‘ look so natural.
“I know there will be a lot of pressure in Barcelona. the chapter is about him.”
Replacing Gundogan will be a challenge for City. The midfielder was tactically astute to adapt to whatever role Pep Guardiola needed him to fill. In recent years, he has particularly excelled as a late runner into the penalty area, delivering 38 goals in all competitions over the last three seasons.
Mateo Kovacic is the man City are turning to, a deal worth up to £30 million has been agreed by Chelsea for his services. The Croatian certainly has many of the qualities that Guardiola values most in his players, but he is not the type to deliver a healthy supply of goals every year. It looks like he will not be able to offer the leadership qualities that made Gundogan so popular with the Premier League champions. It’s not for nothing that Barcelona called their new signing “one of the best midfielders in the world in the last decade. Even with all of City’s wealth, replacing Gundogan will be difficult.