Barcelona have reached an agreement with Manchester City to sign Ilkay Gundogan as a free agent when his contract expires on June 30. Sources confirmed to ESPN that Gundogan, 32, has agreed to a two-year deal with Barca, with an option for a third year. He has turned down offers to extend his seven-season stay at City, as well as proposals from Premier League side Arsenal and clubs in Saudi Arabia.
The deal is pending the results of a physical, which Gundogan underwent on Wednesday. Barcelona’s ongoing financial issues led them to explore the free agent market, and in March, ESPN revealed that the club was in talks with the Germany international. According to sources, City was unwilling to match Barca’s financial offer and would only extend a contract for one year with an option for a second.
Barcelona has been active in signing free agents recently. Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie both arrived on free transfers last summer. Sources have also indicated that defender Inigo Martinez is set to join Barca after the expiry of his contract with Athletic Club this month.
Gundogan’s arrival at Barcelona comes after coach Xavi Hernandez expressed a desire to improve the team’s creativity and goal count from midfield following the departure of Lionel Messi to Inter Miami. Xavi believes Barca struggled last season when midfielder Pedri was injured, and Gundogan is seen as someone who can help alleviate the workload for the young Spain midfielder.
Barca highly values Gundogan’s versatility in the middle of the pitch, especially his ability to operate in a deeper role. However, sources have revealed that the club would still prefer to bring in a direct replacement for departing midfielder Sergio Busquets.
Gundogan is calling time on his spell at City after captaining the English side to a historic treble, culminating in their first Champions League trophy earlier this month. The midfielder had an impressive season, scoring 11 goals in 51 appearances, including a brace in the FA Cup final against Manchester United.
With five Premier League titles and 14 trophies in total, Gundogan leaves City with an impressive collection of accolades. His signing is expected to bolster Barcelona’s midfield and contribute to their pursuit of future success.