Man City seriously eyeing “magician” Florian Wirtz for Pep Guardiola

In the summer of 2021, Manchester City broke their transfer record – and the British transfer record, too – to sign Jack Grealish for £100m. While the likes of Moises Caicedo, Enzo Fernandez and Declan Rice have since either matched or surpassed Grealish in the Premier League leaderboard, he remains at the top for City.

Josko Gvardiol, signed for £77.5m from RB Leipzig last summer, has come closest since, but now another Bundesliga player, Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz, could set a new benchmark. His father, Hans-Joachim Wirtz stated in November that “it makes sense” for the attacker to remain with Leverkusen “for a while”, but that may not be a completely accurate reflection of sentiment behind the scenes.

City among clubs watching Wirtz like a hawk

According to German outlet Sport Bild, Manchester City are following Wirtz closely. Along with other “top clubs” in Europe like Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, they’re “watching Wirtz’s every move”.

There’s nothing “concrete” taking place at the moment either in terms of contract negotiations or talks over a move away, but the player’s camp have made sure to “leave a back door open” for an exit. Despite what they’re saying publicly, they’re not “100 percent committed” to the Werkself.


Whether Wirtz leaves this year or in 2025, Leverkusen will demand a fee in excess of €130m, which is the equivalent of about £112m. Xabi Alonso’s side are focused on tying him down to a new deal, one that would see him become the highest earner in the club’s history, rather than preparing for a sale.

“Magician” Wirtz can become world-class under Pep Guardiola

The big question, then, is whether Wirtz would be worth the outlay. He started really catching the eye across Europe in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons when he notched 40 direct goal contributions (18 goals, 22 assists) in 71 games across all competitions and won the Bundesliga’s Newcomer of the Season award, while also making the competition’s best XI.

An anterior cruciate ligament injury in the spring of 2022 halted his progress, keeping him out for the best part of a year. When he returned, he quickly played his way back into form with four goals and eight assists in the 2022/23 run-in, earning the Europa League Young Player of the Season prize despite missing the entire group stage as he helped his side reach the semi-finals.

That brings us to this year, where prior to this weekend, Wirtz had already reached 20 goal involvements for the season (eight goals, 12 assists) in just 24 appearances for Xabi Alonso’s men, who lead the Bundesliga and remain unbeaten following their 3-2 success at Leipzig. He sits second in the Bundesliga at the time of writing for assists (seven), and fourth in Europe’s big five leagues.

Teammate Victor Boniface has described him as a “magician” who does “crazy” things on a daily basis in training, while talent scout Jacek Kulig regards him as an “absolute jewel”. Still just 20 years old, he’s a truly generational talent who could yet become world-class under Pep Guardiola, repaying City’s investment over a long-term stint at the Etihad.

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