Barcelona have announced a deal to sign Manchester City and Germany international midfielder Ilkay Gundogan on a free transfer.
The Manchester City captain, who is out of contract at the end of this month, was offered an improved contract by Barca last week and will now join on July 1 on a two-year deal with the option of a third.
His buyout is set at €400million.
The 32-year-old is the priority signing for Barcelona head coach Xavi after the Catalans were rejected in their pursuit of Lionel Messi, who has announced he will instead join Inter Miami.
Manchester City were keen to keep the German, who was a key player as Pep Guardiola’s side won the treble — collecting the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup — last season.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona_cat) June 26, 2023
Gundogan joined City from Borussia Dortmund in 2016. He has won the Premier League five times, the FA Cup twice, the League Cup four times and the Champions League once while at the Etihad.
He said: “For me it has been a total privilege and pleasure to be part of Manchester City for the last seven years. Manchester has been my home and I have felt part of a very special family at City.
“I have been lucky to have experienced so many unforgettable moments in my time here and to have been captain for this extra special season has been the greatest experience of my career.
“First, I would like to thank Pep. To have been able to play under and learn from him for so long has been something I will never forget. I would also like to thank all my team-mates – past and present – who have all played such a special part in making my time here so amazing.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) June 26, 2023
“Finally, I would like to thank the incredible City fans. They have supported me from the moment I arrived, and I owe them all so much for their support.
“This club made me realise all my dreams and I will forever be thankful for this opportunity. I will carry City always in my heart. Once a blue, always a blue.”
Xavi has been in contact with Gundogan and has already told him what role he envisages him playing and how important he would be.
Joan Laporta, the Barcelona president, said on Wednesday: “The transfer market is responding well to us, that’s all I can say at this stage. World-class players still prioritise joining Barcelona.”
Why were Barcelona so keen on Gundogan?
Analysis by Pol Ballus
Barcelona have an urgent need to sign an attacking midfielder. They need a player who can support Pedri in terms of chance creation and who has the skill to play between the lines.
This is where Xavi saw Messi fitting in and why he wants to sign Gundogan from City.
From the early months of Xavi’s tenure there has been a sense that Barcelona are over-reliant on Pedri, their 20-year-old midfielder.
As one first-team source put it to The Athletic earlier this year, “When Pedri is out or injured, our whole idea struggles.”
Ilkay Gundogan’s Barcelona transfer – why Manchester City’s captain decided to leave
(Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images)