Paul Merson has claimed that Mateo Kovacic may not be an ideal replacement for Ilkay Gundogan at Manchester City.

Back in June, it was revealed that the German had joined Barcelona as a free agent after spending seven years at the Manchester club.

Not long after that, the Citizens announced that they had secured a four-year deal for Kovacic from Chelsea worth £30m.

With the Croatian now set to kick off his first Premier League campaign with Pep Guardiola’s side in the coming week, one pundit has shared his concern over this particular change to City’s midfield.

Merson says Kovacic can’t replace Gundogan’s goals

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In a recent column for Sportskeeda, Merson had this to say about Gundogan’s exit and Kovacic’s arrival at City.

He said: “If Gundogan hadn’t stepped up for Manchester City last season, I don’t think they would’ve won the league title.

“He scored a brace on the last day of the previous season as well to clinch the title race for City. He’s scored some big goals for them.

“I’m a big fan of Mateo Kovacic, but I don’t think he can score the goals that Gundogan scores on a regular basis.” 

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During his time at City, Gundogan scored 60 goals in 304 appearances and bearing in mind how Kovacic only found the net six times in 221 appearances for Chelsea, it’s easy to see why Merson thinks the Croatian may have an issue in trying to replicate the goalscoring prowess that the former City star had.

However, with the 29-year-old ending his previous league campaign with a higher total of shot-creating actions (62) than any other predominant midfielder at Chelsea, this shows how effective he is at setting up goalscoring opportunities for his teammates, which could make him very useful for the likes of Erling Haaland at City.

Moving forward, while putting in strong performances will be the main objective for the midfielder, if he can start adding goals to his game, this will surely make him an important figure for Guardiola’s side.

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