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Why Signing Mateo Kovacic Makes Sense for Manchester City

A great signing all in all.

Manchester City Unveil New Signing Photo by Manchester City FC/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Manchester City wasted no time in bringing in a replacement for Ilkay Gundogan after the German midfielder decided to move to Barcelona. Having been part of one of the most successful periods in the club’s history, the 32-year-old leaves as a legend of the club. He made sure of that by being the first captain to lift the Champions League trophy.

It’s an honour that legendary captains like Tony Book, Paul Power, Roy Paul, Richard Dunne (who won the club’s Player of the Year award a record four times), Vincent Kompany, Andy Morrison and even Fernandinho would have loved to have, but it was Gundogan who enjoyed the privilege.

But haven’t called time on his career at City the club has moved quickly to fill the void left by his departure. Enter Mateo Kovacic. With just a year left on his contract with Chelsea, it was easy to negotiate a transfer that has seen the player switch base from London to Manchester.

Although the Croatia international does not compare to Gundogan in terms of goals and assists, his vast experience playing at the top level, especially in the Premier League could be very valuable in the team.

He has also played in very successful teams, winning the Champions League 5 * and several other trophies in different countries. Bringing such experience to the dressing room will be very important in a team that in the words of Gundogan is “built to win”.

The only drawback is his age as he’s already 29. But he will likely still give the team another two to three years of top-level performance before there could be a need to move him on. If that turns out to be the case £25m will be money well spent.

Also, having played in some of the best teams in Europe, including the Croatian national team in the last several years, he will fit nicely into the City setup. He is good on the ball, commands his area of the pitch and puts in a shift every time he is called upon. These are qualities any player must possess to succeed under Pep Guardiola.

Kovacic may not be a like-for-like replacement for Gundogan but he can come close to filling the gap left by the German midfielder.