Manchester City have agreed a £78million deal for RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol.
It falls just shy of the record £80m fee for a defender that Manchester United paid for Harry Maguire in 2019 and has no add-ons.
Manchester City see the 21-year-old as a force who can be around for the next decade and his arrival should be confirmed in the coming days.
Pep Guardiola’s side want to get the transfer over the line before their Community Shield showdown with Arsenal on Sunday.
The Leipzig defender is not in the squad for today’s double header of fixtures against Sint-Truidense and Altglienicke, though he is in the stands as a spectator.
Gvardiol’s old club in Croatia, Dinamo Zagreb, are set to received 20% of the transfer fee, which would represent major income for the country’s biggest club.
City identified the 21-year-old as a key target several months ago and had been told by Leipzig to complete the deal by the start of the Premier League season.
The German club were keen for negotiations not to drag on while Guardiola has been eager to get his man through the door.
Mateo Kovacic, Gvardiol’s Croatia team-mate and a new City man himself, said Gvardiol is ready for this next step in his career.
He said: ‘Josko has great potential. He can come here and learn and be the best version of himself. I’d obviously like it — I’m a good friend with him and he’s Croatian. It would be nice to have a Croatian by my side here.
‘He’s already played a lot of big games. He is ready for this step.’
Gvardiol was part of the Croatia side who reached the World Cup semi-finals and scored in their 2-1 win over Morocco in third-place play-off.
He was also part of the Leipzig team who crashed out of the Champions League Round of 16 against Manchester City last season.
In a first leg to forget for the German outfit, City won 7-0, but on home turf Leipzig clinched a draw thanks to a Gvardiol goal.