Man City Treble Winning Captain Ilkay Gundogan Joins Barcelona On A Free Transfer.

Barcelona have started off the week by announcing that Ilkay Gundogan has signed for the club from Manchester City.

The deal has been rumored for weeks but has now been made official with the Germany international arriving on a free transfer from Premier League giants.

Gundogan was reportedly in talks with City over a new deal ahead of his contract expiry at the end of this week.

However, the length of the deal on offer for the 32-year-old, was one year plus an option of a further 12 months. But he has instead picked La Liga champions Barcelona despite Man City attempts to keep him, Arsenal interest and Saudi’s huge proposals.

He penned a two-year contract until 2025, also including an option for a further year, with the Blaugrana side and will surely be hoping he can pick up more trophies with Xavi Hernandez’s side.

His release clause has been set at €400m (£342m).

Gundogan arrives at the Camp Nou after a stellar season at City and with manager Pep Guardiola having publicly made it clear he wanted his captain to stay, after winning a historical treble; the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in the space of a month.

He was Guardiola first signing as City's manager, as he spent seven years at the Etihad Stadium since joining from Borussia Dortmund in July 2016.

Here’s the club’s official statement following the completion of the transfer;

“FC Barcelona and Ilkay Gündoğan have reached an agreement for the German international to sign for the Catalans now that his contract with Manchester City has ended. He will join for two seasons, through to 30 June 2025, with the option to stay for one more year. His buyout clause has been set at 400 million euros.”

Gundogan told the Manchester City club website: "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.

"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."

It's likely that Gundogan would be handed the No. 5 jersey at the club which was recently vacated by Barcelona legend and captain Sergio Busquets who left to join former teammate Lionel Messi at Inter Miami in the MLS.

As it stands, there are seven numbers for the German maestro to choose from.

Neither the No. 8 jersey which he wore with Man City, nor the No. 21 that he dons with the German national team is available.

With the chances of Pedri or Frenkie de Jong  highly unlikely forfeiting their numbers, Gundogan will have to settle for a new number that he has never worn before. The options left on the table are 2, 3, 5, 12, 14, 16, and 18.

Though, he will not be the one to wear the armband for Barca next season. Yet, with his experience and quality, he will undoubtedly be one of the leaders on the field over the next few years. 

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