Manchester City will turn their attention to RB Leipzig centre-back Josko Gvardiol after sealing a deal for Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic, according to Fabrizio Romano.

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Manchester City transfer news – Josko Gvardiol

Gvardiol has emerged as one of the most sought-after defensive prospects heading into this summer transfer window, and Romano has stated that City are on the verge of agreeing on personal terms with the Croatian international.

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The Italian transfer expert states that negotiations are needed between RB Leipzig and the recently crowned European champions as the German side want more than the reported €80m fee. He also believes Leipzig still want to keep the 21-year-old.

"Right after Kovacić deal, Man City will push again for top target Josko Gvardiol — as personal terms are on the verge of being agreed with Croatian CB," he tweeted. "Negotiations needed with RB Leipzig as they want way more than reported €80m fee, still hoping to keep Josko."

The Bundesliga side are said to be demanding around €100m (£85m), as per 90min.

Is Josko Gvardiol better than Ruben Dias?

City are stacked at the back, and signing Gvardiol can help make that defensive unit even stronger.

Pep Guardiola switched up City’s defensive system this season, changing from their traditional 4-3-3 formation with overlapping fullbacks to an unusual 3-2-4-1 formation with inverted fullbacks.

It worked a treat, as City went on to win a historic treble and claimed their first-ever Champions League title.

Although Ruben Dias would be considered the premier defender in this side, Gvardiol’s performances against City in this season's Champions League show that the Croatian could even be an upgrade on one of Pep’s favourite defenders.

The 6 foot 1 colossus put in an excellent performance against Erling Haaland when the sides met in the first leg of their Champions League knockout game in February.

Josko’s stats in the game were sensational, winning three ground duels and four aerial duels and didn’t commit a single foul whilst marking the hottest striker in the Premier League.

He also showed his abilities on the ball, completing 82% of his 82 passes, including one key pass and creating one big chance, per SofaScore.

Gvardiol finished with a 7.2 match rating, in comparison to Haaland’s 6.7 rating. He even got on the score sheet in the 1-1 draw, unlike the talismanic Norweigen, powering home a bullet header from a corner in the second half.

The Croatia international, who was hailed as one of the best centre-backs at the World Cup by Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, allowed Haaland just 22 touches in the entire game with the Norwegian hitman failing to register a shot on target in the 90 minutes.

“He’s young, he’s 21 years old, so to come and perform the way he did, so mature, so calm,” said Ferdinand.

“I think he has got a chance to go on and become one of the best defenders in the world, if he can continue improving like this.”

The Croatian "machine" - as hailed by The Athletic's Jordan Campbell back in December - has proved his worth in the RB Leipzig defence, winning 32 of the 59 games the centre-back has played.

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If the promising young defender does get his City move, he can learn from the excellence of teammate Dias, and even surpass the Portuguese centre-back.

Dias has won all there is to win in Manchester since his move from Benfica in 2020. Dias won the club player of the year in 2021 and has won three Premier League titles since his arrival at the Etihad.

Gvardiol becoming an upgrade on Dias speaks not of a decline in the ability of Dias, but more so of the sky-high potential the Croatian transfer target has to become one of the best centre-backs in the world.