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Five Manchester City players who could replace Ilkay Gundogan as club captain



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Manchester City and Pep Guardiola are now searching for a new club captain following the departure of Ilkay Gundogan.

The 32 year-old left Manchester City after seven years at the Etihad Stadium earlier this summer, moving to Barcelona on a free transfer following the expiration of his contract at the end of June.

Gundogan, who was Pep Guardiola’s first signing at the club, departed Manchester City as a club legend, having captained the Blues to the treble and a maiden UEFA Champions League title, as well as countless crucial Premier League goals.

The German midfielder made a total of 304 appearances while winning 14 trophies during his time in East Manchester, having moved to the club from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2016.

Ilkay Gundogan’s departure leaves a gapping hole within the Manchester City squad, with the 32 year-old a key member of the first-team and highly-respected by manager Pep Guardiola, who revealed on countless occasions his desire for the midfielder to extend his stay at the club.

The legendary midfielder became club captain following the departure of Fernandinho, with David Silva and Vincent Kompany having previously held the armband during Pep Guardiola’s reign at the club.

The Manchester City squad usually vote to elect their club captain and leadership team at the start of each season, with Ilkay Gundogan officially selected in August 2022.

Upon being named as club captain last year, Ilkay Gundogan said, “As someone that wasn’t born and raised here, it is a big honour to be the captain of this team and club, without a doubt.”

Having captained Manchester City to the treble, the next skipper will have huge shoes to fill, but who could take the armband at the Etihad Stadium?

Ruben Dias

The 26 year-old will be a prime candidate to become the new Manchester City skipper, given Dias’ leadership skills which have been displayed both on and off the pitch since his arrival in 2020.

Dias was part of the City leadership group this season and given the recent history at the club of centre-backs holding the armband, the Portuguese defender could be set to replace Gundogan as club captain.

Kevin De Bruyne

De Bruyne is one of the most senior members of the Manchester City squad and given his vast experience and role as vice-captain during the campaign, the Belgian is another prime candidate to become the new club captain.

The 31 year-old has been with the Blues since 2015, making over 350 appearances and scoring 96 goals.

Kyle Walker

Despite growing uncertainty surrounding his future amid interest from Bayern Munich, should Walker remain at the Etihad Stadium next season than the Englishman will undoubtedly be another candidate to become club captain.


The Spaniard is an integral member of Guardiola’s squad and after scoring a series of monumental goals, including the winner in the Champions League Final, Rodri is another potential captaincy candidate.

Rodri featured in 56 games for Manchester City last season and given his importance to the team, could the 27 year-old continue to follow in the footsteps of Fernandinho and take on the captaincy?

Nathan Ake

After an incredible campaign and given his vast experience, Ake is another candidate to replace Gundogan as captain.

The 28 year-old is a highly-regarded member of the City squad and has given countless impressive interviews during his three years at the club to date.

During his time at Bournemouth, Eddie Howe praised the Dutch defender’s leadership qualities and believed the centre-back was captain material.

Speaking in 2019, Howe said: “It’s a natural progression in his career. He is a leader. He leads by how he conducts himself, how he trains, his professionalism. All the players respect him immensely.

“I was really pleased and honoured to give him the armband.”