With İlkay Gündoğan calling time on his successful spell at the Etihad Stadium to join Barcelona this summer, Manchester City have lost a key cog in their dazzling football machine.
Manager Pep Guardiola is experienced enough to know replacing the Germany playmaker won’t be easy, as City look to keep their noses ahead of the chasing pack domestically and in Europe.
Gündoğan Left City On A High
After what was a remarkable season for City to win the Premier League, FA Cup and elusive first Champions League, Gündoğan decided it was the right time to take on a new challenge. For those looking to place bet on sports this coming season, City are 4/6 to retain the Premier League title without skipper Gündoğan leading from the front. Punters can also use a betting calculator to see what returns are possible with City also looking to challenge for the domestic cups and Champions League for the highly-anticipated 2023/24 campaign. Having been so instrumental in helping the Citizens achieve the treble last season and equal the achievements of their great rivals Manchester United in 1998/99, Guardiola has a void to fill in an important area of the field.
Gündoğan enjoyed an unforgettable spell in Manchester following his move from Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund back in July 2016. In his time at the Etihad, Gündoğan managed to win an impressive five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, one Community Shield and of course the club’s first Champions League title. At the age of 32, Gündoğan might well have felt he achieved all he wanted with City and it’s understandable why he would decide to take on a new challenge with a Barcelona side that conquered Spain last season and will be looking to get back to competing for the Champions League title next term.
City Turn To Croatian Star
The Citizens have already been busy in the summer transfer market and quickly identified Mateo Kovačić as an ideal replacement. The 29-year-old has a wealth of Premier League and Champions League experience with Chelsea under his belt and will be looking to hit the ground running in his new surroundings at treble-winners City.
Slotting in seamlessly in this star-studded City side at the Etihad is something that is often easier said than done. With Guardiola’s style of play and demands on his players in their specific positions, it can take time to adapt to the role. Jack Grealish struggled in his first season at City following his move from Aston Villa but then flourished last term on the left flank. Much was also expected of England midfielder Kalvin Phillips following his move from Leeds United last summer. Injuries have not helped the player’s cause but it has also taken Phillips time to adapt to life at City.
The Citizens will be hoping Kovačić can hit the ground running but the Croatian has a big job on his hands. Gündoğan led from the front and produced some iconic moments for City in their greatest-ever campaign and will be tough to replace.
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