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Mateo Kovacic sends key Pep Guardiola message to Josko Gvardiol amid £86M Manchester City move talks



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Manchester City midfielder Mateo Kovacic has welcomed the potential arrival of fellow Croatian Josko Gvardiol to the Etihad Stadium ahead of the new season.

Kovacic has been the only addition to Pep Guardiola’s first-team squad after a landmark, treble-winning campaign that saw the Blues pick up their seventh Premier League title and notably, a maiden Champions League honour.

The Croatia international completed a £30 million (£25 million and £5 million in add-ons) move to the north-west from Chelsea as City look to kick on from a sensational season, having bid farewell to Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez.

RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol has been high on Manchester City’s priority list in terms of incomings this summer but negotiations have taken time given the German club’s stance on their reported £86 million valuation of the central defender.

Fabrizio Romano reported a few weeks ago that a fee had been agreed between the clubs for the 21-year-old, who was also believed to have completed a part of his medical.

However, sources close to Manchester City and RB Leipzig rebuffed such claims subsequently and insisted an agreement was yet to be reached.

City are still expected to complete the signing of Gvardiol as they approach their opening fixtures of the campaign, beginning with a Community Shield clash against title rivals Arsenal at Wembley this weekend.

As the European champions try to close a deal with RB Leipzig, City’s summer signing Mateo Kovacic has welcomed the chance to play with Gvardiol in Manchester.

The 29-year-old said: “He (Gvardiol) can come here and learn and be the best version of himself. I’d obviously like it – I’m a good friend with him and he’s Croatian. It would be nice to have a Croatian by my side here,” as per Jack Gaughan of the Daily Mail.

“He’s already played a lot of big games. He is ready for this step. I think it’s a good time (to join Manchester City). They are on a great run, a very confident team and a team you can learn from. They have possibly the best manager in history (Pep Guardiola).

“I came here to join a great group and to try to learn. He (Gvardiol) is still young but he’s mature. He doesn’t need much advice. He had a great World Cup and a great season with Leipzig.”