Pep Guardiola admitted he is nervous ahead of Manchester City's Premier League showdown against leaders Arsenal
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. AFP


  • Manchester City have positioned themselves for the acquisition of Josko Gvardiol
  • Gvardiol had a stellar run in the 2022 FIFA World Cup
  • This puts into question how they can still acquire Declan Rice with his hefty price tag

Manchester City has their eyes set on continuing their run of dominance over the English Premier League by netting center-back Josko Gvardiol from German Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, and it could also mean they will be giving up on their long-time pursuit of another coveted piece.

According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola "rates Josko highly" and that "Leipzig wants Josko to be [the] most expensive CB (center-back) ever" with them setting his price tag nothing less than €100 million ($109.01 million).

Gvardiol had himself a run in the 2022 FIFA World Cup held from late November to mid-December as he helped Croatia to a third-place finish where he scored the opening goal in just seven minutes as they defeated Morocco after falling to eventual World Cup kings Argentina in the semi-finals.

Not only did Gvardiol, 21, help his nation to a strong showing in the global soccer tournament but also earned the honor of being Croatia's youngest ever player to suit up for the Eastern European nation and became the country's youngest goal scorer at a major tournament at 20 years, 10 months and 24 days.

With Manchester City ready to have another big-money acquisition on their hands, this now opens up questions about West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice and their chase for him.

Rice has long been tipped to a move away from West Ham United with clubs such as Manchester City, their crosstown rival Manchester United, Bundesliga's Bayern Munich, and most recently, Arsenal being linked to the English midfielder.

Recently, it was reported that Rice would find himself on Arsenal's squad for the upcoming 2023-24 season and beyond, but Romano revealed that such talks have not been made complete just yet despite lingering rumors.

It was also believed that West Ham United is expected to receive an offer in the neighborhood of £100 million ($125.6 million) for Rice–numbers that Manchester City might not be able to match after pursuing the budding Croatian star.

Add in the fact that Manchester United is going out of their way to potentially lure Rice away from other clubs with the joking admission made by veteran center-back Luke Shaw, and the Cityzens' chase for Rice becomes slightly more complicated.

Manchester City registered a treble this season after winning the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and FA Cup titles, with the league title being their biggest accomplishment as many saw that Arsenal was going to run away and take it home back to Emirate Stadium.

However, a late-season push by Manchester City allowed them to upend the Gunners and steal away the Premier League title and establish themselves further as an English powerhouse.

How they proceed with Rice remains up in the air, but if the Gvardiol acquisition pushes through, it opens up the door for other clubs to sign him.

Declan Rice likely played his last game for West Ham in winning the Europa Conference League
Declan Rice of West Ham United. AFP