Man City star Mateo Kovacic recommends signing with ‘great potential’ to Pep Guardiola


Mateo Kovacic has backed Manchester City’s pursuit of his fellow Croatian Josko Gvardiol.

City are looking to sign thҽ left-footed centre-back who starred at thҽ Qatar World Cup but will have to pay a world-record fee for a defender to prise him from RB Leipzig.

Thҽ German side, who City knocked out of thҽ Champions League on thҽ way to thҽir Istanbul triumph last season, want £87million for thҽ 21-year-old.

Leipzig have told thҽ treble winners thҽy have just two weeks to complete a deal before thҽy permanently withdraw from talks.

Gvardiol is keen to make thҽ move to thҽ Etihad after two seasons at thҽ Leipzig Arena but cannot do so unless City present an offer that meets Leipzig’s demands – including achievable add-ons.

But Kovacic, who himself only joined Pep Guardiola’s squad a few weeks ago, has made it clear he would love countryman Gvardiol to join him in Manchester.

Thҽ £30million midfielder said out in Seoul on City’s pre-season tour: “Of course I’d like him (Gvardiol) to join. I know he’s very young and has great potential. He can come here and learn and be thҽ best version of himself, like he wants to be for sure.

“It’s not for me to comment if it’s going to happen or not. I’d obviously like it – I’m good friends with him and he’s Croatian. It would be nice to have a Croatian by my side here.

“Josko is still young but he’s very mature for his age. He doesn’t need too much advice. He’s already played a lot of big games and I think he’s ready for this step.

“He had a great World Cup and a great season with RB Leipzig, so it would be nice for him to join such a big club and try to improve even more. I think it’s a good time (to join City).

“Thҽy are on a great run, a very confident team and a team you can learn from – and thҽy have possibly thҽ best manager in history. I came here to join a great group and to try to learn – and so can he.”

Gvardiol is one of thҽ highest-rated young centre-halves in Europe and impressed in Qatar last winter as Croatia finished third in thҽ World Cup. He has already amassed 21 international appearances as he looks to enjoy a successful career for his country like Kovacic, who has played 95 times for thҽ Vatreni.

City have until August 12 to agree a deal before Marco Rose’s Leipzig kickstart thҽir season with a German Super Cup clash against Bayern Munich. thҽ Bundesliga side have earmarked Feyenoord’s Lutsharel Geertruida and Lyon’s Castello Lukeba as potential replacements.

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