Manchester City are the favourites to sign Bayer Leverkusen attacking midfielder Florian Wirtz, according to Bild reporter Christian Falk.
Writing in his Daily Briefing Substack column, the journalist said that Leverkusen would only sell the German international for €130m (£111.6m) and that makes the Premier League champions a more likely destination than a club like Bayern Munich:
“There are not so many clubs that can pay that. There’s only one which is indeed interested, watching him very closely and can pay this amount – and that’s Manchester City. I think Bayern Munich will be out of the race with this asking price. If Manchester City make the move, they have a big chance to get the player.”
Falk also claims that City boss Pep Guardiola is the driving force behind the move for Wirtz, with the Spaniard seeing him as the club’s next main playmaker after Kevin De Bruyne:
“Pep Guardiola seems to be a big fan of him! He can play many positions (he’s not a like-for-like for Kevin De Bruyne but he can play this position). He could be a potential successor for De Bruyne perhaps, playing the position in his own way, which fits perfectly with Guardiola.”
Wirtz’s asking price reduces the competition for his signature
It is believed that the €130m (£111.6m) valuation is the bare minimum that Leverkusen would accept, with there even being suggestions that they could demand as much as €150m (£129m).
Those figures will not only rule out Bayern, but potentially Chelsea and Liverpool who have also been credited with an interest in Wirtz. Due to City’s smart dealings in the transfer market in recent years, they could realistically pay a club record fee for the German without falling foul of FFP.
City may still have to wait until 2026 to get the player
While clubs such as the Cityzens could make a move for Wirtz this summer, there is a feeling that the midfielder may decide to stay at Leverkusen for another year.
However, for that to happen, the Bundesliga side must secure Champions League football and keep current manager Xabi Alonso. Considering they are currently top of the Bundesliga table, both of those conditions are likely to be met.