Guardiola reflects as Man City stand on cusp of Premier League title
Manchester City are set to target Joshua Kimmich as a long-term replacement for Ilkay Gundogan by proposing a swap deal with Bayern Munich that would see Joao Cancelo remain at the Allianz Arena, according to reports. Gundogan will be out of contract at the Etihad Stadium at the end of the season as things stand, with the newly-crowned Premier League champions yet to extend his spell on their books despite the 32-year-old having just over a month left on his current deal.
Gundogan has been an excellent servant to City since joining the club from Borussia Dortmund back in 2016, although it seems that his time in Manchester might soon be coming to an end given the uncertainty of his contract situation into next season and beyond. City will need to replace Gundogan if he leaves and have recently been credited with a strong desire to land Kimmich, who has already been lined up for a potential swap deal that would see Cancelo move the other way, according to The Mirror.
It is claimed that Pep Guardiola is not willing to contemplate having Cancelo in the dressing room next season after he kicked up a fuss over his playing time following his return from last year’s World Cup with Germany. A swap deal for Kimmich would therefore prove fruitful for City, who would need to pay around £60million to sign him outright, although they have not yet officially given up on the idea of keeping Gundogan at the club for at least another season.
Guardiola recently urged the powers that be at City to do everything they can in their efforts to retain Gundogan’s services, with the Spaniard telling reporters: “Nobody knows what is going to happen, maybe he will stay hopefully. He can show again and again and again the quality and importance and his commitment, to all of us, to the club, not just scoring goals, now he has his momentum.
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“Against Leeds he was the player and again [against Everton]. He can do everything and everything well. He doesn’t talk much but when he talks everyone listens and this is the power of the leader, he shows his leadership in every training session, arriving on time, living 24 hours your job and playing like he is playing.
“He is a player that when he gets close to the box he has an incredible sense of goal, he can play as a holding midfielder no problem. He proved it years ago when Fernandinho was injured, he played in games like Burnley, long balls. You think you need a physical player but he is so clever and he is a guy who handles the pressure well.”
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Gundogan has already been offered a one-year extension at City but Barcelona are reportedly willing to hand him a three-year deal as they bid to prise him away from the Etihad Stadium on a free transfer when the campaign draws to a close. The Catalan giants have struggled with financial problems over the last few years and still find themselves short of cash, which suggests that several out-of-contract players could be targeted for moves between now and the start of next season.
Kimmich, meanwhile, remains tied down at Bayern Munich until the summer of 2025 but could be open to taking up a new challenge with City after speaking of his disappointment following the sacking of Julian Nagelsmann earlier this year.
He told TZ: “We won only five games out of 10 but I can say that he didn’t lose the dressing room. I’ve already been through a few coaching changes, there was nothing to indicate internally that he lost the dressing room or that players are unhappy. We all were surprised.”
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