Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Antonio Conte still monitoring perfect Tottenham centre-back target as talk of £44m exit clause emerges

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

Tottenham remain interested in signing RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol and are reportedly monitoring his progress in Germany.

The Croatia international was one of Antonio Conte’s top centre-back targets over the summer, along with a trio of Inter Milan stars, as the Italian looked for a left-sided defender to play in his back three.

However, Spurs ended up bringing in Clement Lenglet on loan from Barcelona – although it’s thought there is no option to buy.

Gvardiol, though, remains an option for London rivals Chelsea too. Indeed, the Blues are already closing in on a deal for his teammate Christopher Nkunku.

Football Insider claims that scouts from Tottenham were in attendance for Leipzig’s clash at Celtic on Tuesday evening. And the centre-back impressed as the German outfit cruised to a 2-0 win in Glasgow.

Gvardiol has been on Spurs’ radar since his time at Dinamo Zagreb. However, Leipzig won the race to sign for his signature in 2020 for £18million on a buy-to-loan deal.

The 12-times capped Croatia international only signed a new Leipzig contract on September 1, which will make signing him tougher.

His new deal runs out in 2027 and reportedly has a fairly reasonable release clause of £44million.

Gvardiol has made a massive impact at Leipzig as the Bundesliga outfit have become Champions League regulars.

Leeds United have also been linked with the player due to Jesse Marsch’s former involvement within the Red Bull multi-club network.

But with the player wanting European football, it could come down to a straight fight between Tottenham and Chelsea – if they are both willing to pay his exit clause.

Gvardiol a perfect fit for Conte system

Of all the defensive players linked with Tottenham over the summer, Gvardiol always appeared as the most viable option for Conte’s back three.

Naturally left-sided he would have slipped in comfortably alongside Eric Dier and Cristian Romero at the back.

Whilst not a knock on the work Ben Davies has done, Conte clearly feels he still needs an upgrade.

Lenglet has largely looked comfortable when called upon and is good on the ball with an excellent passing range. However, there is a feeling that Conte still wants a stronger defensive option, and that is where Gvardiol fits in.

The 6f 1in defender is imposing in the air and his renowned for his ability in one-on-one situations.

All that remains is for sporting director Fabio Paratici to try and convince Leipzig into a sale. However, that will be easier said than done.

Tottenham will be looking to cement their top-three berth in the Premier League table when they host Everton in north London on Saturday evening.

READ MORE: Tottenham, Everton alerted as Brazilian centre-back target stalls on contract extension at Serie A club