RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol is refusing to close the door on a January transfer to Chelsea amid claims he remains very much on Todd Boehly’s wishlist.
The 20-year-old defender is one of the finest in world football, despite his relative inexperience. Since moving to Leipzig from Dinamo Zagreb in 2021, he’s made 55 appearances in all competitions. He’s also established himself on the international scene, having won 10 caps for Croatia.
Having cost just £17m, Leipzig were offered the chance to make a massive and rapid profit on their investment. That’s after Chelsea came calling with what was described in the German media as an ‘almost immoral’ £78.9m (€90m) bid.
Despite weighing up the offer, Leipzig declined, instead tying their star defender down to a new and improved deal.
However, the Leipzig model means their very best players are available when significant offers arrive. To that end, it perhaps came as a surprise they did not cash in when Chelsea came calling.
However, Fabrizio Romano claims that is because Leipzig are expecting further interest in Gvardiol in the windows to come. As such, the trusted transfer guru reckons Manchester City will also be future contenders for his signature.
“RB Leipzig turned down Chelsea bid for Josko Gvardiol on Deadline week (it was for summer 2023) as they’re convinced other clubs will join the race next summer, including Man City,” Romano tweeted.
“New deal until 2027 but Chelsea are still there and the race is absolutely open.”
With Chelsea needing to act, the Blues instead brought in Wesley Fofana for a similar fee from Leicester.
However, the Blues remain on his trail and Boehly seemingly remains keen on a deal.
Josko Gvardiol open to Chelsea switch
Our feature also listed Gvardiol as one of five players Graham Potter could look to sign in January.
The player has been slightly short on fitness this season, owing to an injury sustained in pre-season.
That has limited him to just three appearances so far this season, though he insists his recover is on track after joining up with Croatia for international duty.
“I feel great, I’m healthy. I was a little behind at the beginning of the season due to rehabilitation. Now I’m waiting for the opportunity and minutes and I’m trying to use them in the best possible way,” he told Index.
Discussing Chelsea’s interest for the first time, Gvardiol insists he remains content at Leipzig.
However, he’s seemingly leaving the door ajar, teasing a possible transfer in January.
“I’m happy at Leipzig, I still have a lot to learn and need to work on myself.”
When pushed again about a summer move, Gvardiol added: “I have people who deal with it, I didn’t think about a transfer. We’ll see what happens in the winter…”
Whether Chelsea make a renewed offer for the player remains to be seen.
Chelsea ready to spend big again
However, Bohely is reportedly preparing to back new boss Potter with huge funds in 2023.
The Blues spent an eye-watering £253m in the summer window, with Raheem Sterling, Marc Cucurella and Kalidou Koulibaly also arriving for sizeable fees.
And it would not be out of the question for Gvardiol to become the next big-money arrival. Any deal is likely to cost a potential world-record fee for a defender.
Gvardiol can also play at left-back too, though the Blues have some quality options there already.