Kicker reports that RB Leipzig are closing in on completing the signing of Lyon defender Castello Lukeba as Joško Gvardiol is set to join Manchester City.
Leipzig’s sporting director Max Eberl reportedly travelled to Lyon on Wednesday to close the deal over Lukeba. Lyon had previously demanded €34m and it is looking likely that Leipzig will meet the valuation of the 20-year-old and he will sign a five-year contract at Leipzig.
Lukeba is set to be the replacement for Gvardiol, whose move to Manchester City is also nearing completion. Leipzig are to receive a base fee of €90m and with add-ons, the fee will break €100m, while Gvardiol’s former club Dinamo Zagreb is set to receive 15% of the fee. The 21-year-old will become the most expensive defender of all time replacing Harry Maguire of Manchester United.
The sale of Gvardiol will mean that Leipzig have lost four of their best players from last season. Gvardiol will join Christopher Nkunku (Chelsea) and Dominik Szoboszlai (Liverpool) in the Premier League, while Konrad Laimer has moved to Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich.
To replace those players, Leipzig have brought in Loïs Openda, Xavi Simons, Fabio Carvalho, Christoph Baumgartner, Benjamin Seško and Nicolas Seiwald. Whether these players are able to hit the ground running when Leipzig opens their season against Bayer Leverkusen in two weeks will be a big talking point.
GGFN | Jack Meenan