Chelsea could turn to RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol in their hunt for another centre-back if they miss out on two other options, according to reports.
After adding Kalidou Koulibaly to their ranks, Chelsea need one more centre-back to balance out the exits of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen. If Cesar Azpilicueta leaves, they could yet seek another.
With that in mind, Chelsea have been considering a number of potential targets. The main names on their radar are Jules Kounde and Presnel Kimpembe.
But the former is also being targeted by Barcelona from Sevilla, while the latter may prefer to stay with Paris Saint-Germain.
Therefore, the Evening Standard are reporting that Chelsea’s third option is Josko Gvardiol, who enjoyed an impressive debut season with Leipzig. However, the Bundesliga side would only sell the Croatia international for an “exceptional” offer.
Chelsea are already prepared to spend big for Kounde or Kimpembe. Either of the Frenchmen would cost in the region of £50million.
It is not yet clear how high Chelsea would be willing to go for Gvardiol. Still only 20 years old, the left footer is under contract with Leipzig until 2026.
For the time being, the Standard claim Chelsea are “confident” of signing either Kounde or Kimpembe. If not, Gvardiol will be the alternative they turn to.
Interestingly, a recent report from Sport suggested Chelsea’s potential purchase of Gvardiol would unlock Azpilicueta’s departure to Barcelona. Whether that would prompt an additional defensive pursuit by the Blues remains to be seen.
Josko Gvardiol could slot into key Chelsea role
If Chelsea can get their hands on Gvardiol, it would be a useful reinforcement for the future. He has been identified by several Premier League clubs as a top talent to invest in.
Given he favours his left foot, he could also easily slot in on that side of the back three for Chelsea. The right-footed Rudiger impressed in that role last season and has left a void there.
Gvardiol has made his career choices so far carefully, selecting each step in relation to how it would benefit his development. Hence, Chelsea would likely have to offer him a regular role for him to consider a transfer.
But they are one of the world’s most powerful clubs, so they could have plenty of factors to use to their advantage.
It seems Kounde remains the top target for now though. Once Chelsea know what is happening with the former Bordeaux man, they could then make a firmer decision about Gvardiol.
As things stand, he will be preparing to add to his 45 appearances for RB Leipzig.