Gundogan, who is now 32 years old, declined a new contract offer from City, opting instead for what is believed to be a more attractive three-year deal with the Spanish champions, Barcelona.
The German midfielder made 51 appearances in the 2022-23 season, netting 11 goals. In the final stages of the season, Gundogan’s contributions were instrumental, scoring six goals in the last seven games – including a brace in the 2-1 FA Cup final victory against Manchester United.
Earlier this month, Guardiola disclosed that City’s director, Txiki Begiristain, was “endeavouring” to secure Gundogan’s stay, expressing his hope for a successful outcome.
However, Gundogan’s exit comes in the wake of City agreeing to a £30m deal with Chelsea for the transfer of Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic.
The implications of Kovacic’s entry into Manchester City are yet to be determined.
Gundogan first joined City in 2016, transferring from Borussia Dortmund for a reported £20m, and has since made 304 appearances for the club, scoring 60 goals.
His tenure at the Etihad Stadium has seen him lift 14 trophies, including five Premier League titles, one Champions League, two FA Cups, four Carabao Cups, and two Community Shields.
Gundogan took over the captain’s armband at the beginning of the 2022-23 season, following the exit of Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho.
‘Simon Stone, Sport News Center, on Gundogan: He Will be as Celebrated as Silva, Kompany, and Toure in City History’
Simon Stone, from the Sport News Center, suggests that the departure boils down to simple economic factors for Manchester City.
While the club and Guardiola have both expressed their admiration for Gundogan and their wish for him to remain, City wasn’t prepared to keep him at all costs.
Gundogan, now 32, had been offered a one-year contract with a potential additional year by City. However, Barcelona went one better, adding an extra year to the deal.
Although Gundogan’s performances for City have been exceptional, the consensus is that his prime years are now behind him.
Manchester City, as Treble winners, remain a powerhouse in football. Players are eager to play under Guardiola’s management, and the club continues to attract top-tier talent, as evidenced by their imminent acquisition of Kovacic.
Gundogan will leave a lasting legacy at the club, joining the likes of David Silva, Yaya Toure, and Vincent Kompany in the hearts of the fans.
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