Ilkay Gundogan, Manchester City Captain, to Depart for Barcelona on a Free Transfer
Ilkay Gundogan, the captain of Manchester City, is set to leave the club and join Barcelona on a free transfer as his contract with City expires at the end of this month. While City had offered Gundogan a new contract, the 32-year-old midfielder is believed to have negotiated a more lucrative three-year deal with the Spanish champions.
Gundogan played a vital role in City’s successful season, contributing to their Treble victory. In the 2022-23 season, he played 51 matches and scored 11 goals. His impact was particularly notable in the final stages of the season, scoring six goals in his last seven games, including a brace in the FA Cup final triumph over Manchester United.
Pep Guardiola, the manager of Manchester City, expressed his desire to retain Gundogan, emphasizing his importance to the team. However, the German midfielder’s decision to join Barcelona marks a new chapter in his career. Gundogan’s final appearance for City was in the Champions League final, where they defeated Inter Milan 1-0, adding to their Premier League and FA Cup successes.
Guardiola had previously stated that City’s director, Txiki Begiristain, was working towards keeping Gundogan, expressing hope for a successful outcome. Gundogan’s departure comes shortly after City agreed to a £30 million deal with Chelsea to acquire Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic.
Since joining Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund in 2016 for a reported fee of £20 million, Gundogan has made 304 appearances for the club, scoring 60 goals. Over his seven-year tenure at the Etihad Stadium, he has won an impressive 14 trophies, including five Premier League titles, one Champions League, two FA Cups, four Carabao Cups, and two Community Shields. Following the departure of Fernandinho, Gundogan assumed the role of club captain at the beginning of the 2022-23 season.