Premier League • England

Josko Gvardiol: Thomas Tuchel ‘in love’ and readying huge bid as Fabrizio Romano reveals Chelsea thinking over Wesley Fofana

Josko Gvardiol, RB Leipzig, seen in action during the UEFA Europa League match between Real Sociedad and RB Leipzig at Reale Arena in San Sebastian

Chelsea are reportedly readying an approach to sign Josko Gvardiol after making the defender their No 1 target this summer.

Blues boss Thomas Tuchel is frantically searching for defensive reinforcements this summer. With Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen leaving for Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively, the Blues also face losing Cesar Azpilicueta too. And with Kalidou Koulibaly signing on the dotted line, work is ongoing to further strengthen their rearguard.

Indeed, Tuchel has not hidden from his objective of signing more defenders this summer. To that end, the Blues boss will have been left disappointed by seeing Barcelona beat them to the signing of long-term target Jules Kounde.

The Frenchman has been on the Blues radar for well over a year, though it is Barca who have won that race, paying Sevilla £42m in the process.

Thankfully for Tuchel, Chelsea do have other irons in the fire. To that end, Sunday’s Transfer Gossip claims they have been set a tempting asking price for Bayern Munich’s Benjamin Pavard.

Tuchel is also keen on Inter pair Milan Skriniar and Denzel Dumfries, though the latter is seen more as a replacement for Azpilicueta.

And he is also seemingly looking at PSG’s Presnel Kimpembe and Wesley Fofana of Leicester.

And while Tuchel is keen on the Foxes defender, their £70m asking price looks likely to prove a big obstacle to overcome.

Blues owner Todd Boehly, however, may have more joy if he pursues an interest in Gvardiol.

And as per Fabrizio Romano, the RB Leipzig star is fast becoming Tuchel’s No 1 target.

The 20-year-old Croatian has really caught the eye since signing for the Bundesliga side.

Chelsea read tempting packge for Josko Gvardiol

And now Romano claims the left-footer is a player that Tuchel strongly admires.

“Gvardiol is one of the top names on [Chelsea’s] list — Thomas Tuchel is in love with this player,” Romano said on his YouTube channel.

“Let me say that he’s option number one in the list, but as of today, the situation on Leipzig’s side is still the same. They have no intention at all to sell Gvardiol this summer.

“So, it is going to be more than complicated.

“For Fofana, it’s difficult, but you can negotiate. For Gvardiol, it’s not even the case. He’s considered untouchable by Leipzig, so Chelsea would need a miracle to sign Gvardiol.”

Chelsea, however, do have an ace up their sleeve over Gvardiol in the shape of Timo Werner.

The Germany forward looks likely to leave Stamford Bridge before the summer window shuts. And Leipzig are strongly looking to make their move, while Newcastle are also reportedly keen.

But Romano claims the Blues may look to tempt Leipzig into a deal by offering them first the chance to re-sign Werner.

“At the moment, it’s more than difficult because Leipzig don’t want to sell the player,” Romano explained.

“But Chelsea tried, and let’s see if something can happen.”

Leipzig may be talked into a deal

Leipzig have also shown in the past that their best stars can depart if the price is right. To that end, Werner himself, Marcel Sabitzer, Dayot Upamecano and Naby Keita have all been sold off in recent years.

And if Chelsea can offer them Bundesliga side a cash, plus-player deal involving Werner, it might just twist their arm into a deal.

The added bonus for Tuchel is that Gvardiol can also operate at left-back. As such, he would be a perfect addition to the three-man backline the Blues boss tends to prefer.

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Capped 10 times by Croatia, Josko Gvardiol is also a hard defender to get the better of. Standing at 6ft 1ns tall, he quickly became a regular for Leipzig. Playing 46 times in all competitions, he was a big part of their side as they reached the Europa League semi-finals.

Chelsea, meanwhile, will have to act fast to sign Cesare Casadei, with Arsenal reportedly looking to gazump them to the young Inter star.