Leeds United have lost the race for defensive target Josko Gvardiol, according to reports.
Leeds had outlined Gvardiol as a target to reinforce their backline after the departure of Ben White and the injury to Gaetano Berardi, who is now out of contract.
Gvardiol is an 18-year-old centre-back who graduated into the Dinamo Zagreb first team last season. The Croatian under-21 international has made a total of 20 first team appearances so far.
His early performances have shown promise, leading to much competition for his signature. But he has decided to continue his development elsewhere despite Leeds’ interest.
According to the Mirror‘s David Anderson, Gvardiol has turned down Leeds to join RB Leipzig instead.
Dinamo Zagreb had accepted a bid from Leeds worth £19.6m, and the Whites had offered the player better personal terms than Leipzig for a four-year contract.
However, Gvardiol thinks a move to Leipzig – who have Champions League football on offer – would be more beneficial for his career.
The Bundesliga club could even loan him out as soon as they sign him in order to help his development.
Gvardiol hesitant to join Leeds
In fact, it was claimed that Gvardiol was actually hesitant about the idea of making a step up so early in his career.
Bielsa was willing to offer him regular first team football, but Gvardiol apparently wants to take his time to mature.
He could have stayed at Zagreb, but they are now keen to sell him after missing out on Champions League qualification – and the financial rewards that would have come with it.
Hence, it now appears he will be heading to Germany rather than Elland Road.
Leeds will still look for another reinforcement at the back, despite already bringing in Robin Koch.