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Manchester City set to see first major first-team exit of the summer transfer window



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Treble-winning captain Ilkay Gundogan is now set to leave Manchester City this summer, after agreeing terms with Barcelona, according to reports.

The Germany international has taken his time to decide on what his next step in football will be, after completing a historic season with Manchester City that saw the 32-year-old lift the Premier League title, the FA Cup, and the club’s first ever UEFA Champions League trophy.

Gundogan has not been short of options however, having been presented with multiple contract renewal offers from the Etihad Stadium, a deal from Arsenal, a lucrative but speculative offer from Saudi Arabia, and Barcelona’s offer.

But now, with just days until his Manchester City contract officially expires, reports are highlighting that Ilkay Gundogan has finally made his decision, and will be leaving the Etihad Stadium after seven years working under Pep Guardiola.

According to talkSPORT, Ilkay Gundogan has now agreed terms with FC Barcelona, and will bring an end to his illustrious Manchester City career this summer.

It is stated that the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder had been offered an initial two-year deal by the recently-crowned La Liga champions, with the option of a further year.

A change of lifestyle, as well as a fresh challenge, are understood to have been at the centre of Gundogan’s thinking, with Alex Crook of talkSPORT reporting that both he and his family are ‘seriously attracted’ by the prospect of a move to the Catalan city.

News of Gundogan’s expected departure from Manchester City comes on the same day that the Premier League champions reached an agreement with Chelsea for the signing of Croatia international midfielder Mateo Kovacic.

The 29-year-old is expected to finalise his switch north in the coming days, after City and Chelsea reached an agreement on an initial £25 million transfer fee, with £5 million in honour-related add-ons.

Kovacic is widely understood not to be a direct replacement for Ilkay Gundogan, but merely a further addition to Pep Guardiola’s highly-skilled squad, with club chiefs open to the idea of signing another central midfielder in the coming weeks.

Declan Rice is one name that is hugely admired by both Pep Guardiola and transfer officials at the club, but they would face serious competition from the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United – with the Gunners understood to be the England international’s preferred destination this summer.