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Manchester City: Pep could form dream duo with Stones and Gvardiol

Manchester City are now in a battle with Real Madrid and Chelsea to sign RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol according to Goal.

It comes after a report from Foot Mercato last month claimed that City had submitted a bid of £85m following his impressive World Cup performances.

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However, the German side are holding out for a staggering €120m (£105m).

Pep Guardiola’s men have conceded 16 goals in the Premier League this season, which is the third-best record in the top flight, suggesting a defender shouldn’t be high on the priority list for the Spaniard.

That said, Gvardiol is special and could be an excellent signing for the future with City potentially able to form a dream duo between the Croatian defender and the in-form John Stones.

Imagine Gvardiol and Stones

Stones has been a mainstay in the City defence since joining from Everton in 2016, making over 200 appearances for the club and winning every domestic honour in the game.

At 28 years of age, he is arriving at the peak of his career and he could be the ideal player to partner Gvardiol at the heart of the City defence, with the Croatian able to use Stones in order to improve his game and develop into one of the finest centre-backs on the continent.

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Indeed, the “gladiator” – as dubbed by journalist Ryan Taylor – is already on his way to the top and his performances in Qatar showed the world exactly why the likes of Real Madrid and City are interested in signing him.

He played in all seven of Croatia’s matches, averaging a rating of 7.16/10 via Sofascore which ranked him fifth out of the whole squad.

His physicality was evidenced by him winning 51% of his total duels while making 1.3 tackles, 5.3 clearances and 1.6 interceptions per game and averaging a staggering 87.4 touches of the ball, suggesting that not only is the 20-year-old a fine physical specimen, but he has the maturity to regularly demand the ball and attempt to make things happen for his team.

He is a forward-thinking defender and this is evident by his statistics compared to positional peers across Europe’s big five leagues, where the defender ranks in the top 5% for passes attempted, progressive passes and dribbles completed.

Gvardiol could work in tandem with Stones in order to create a formidable defensive duo under Guardiola that might well be the cornerstone for City over the next few years.