Door swings wide open for Tottenham, Chelsea in chase for World Cup superstar as big hitter rules out move
Tottenham and Chelsea have been boosted in their hopes of signing a top World Cup star after Bayern Munich officially ruled themselves out of the race.
RB Leipzig and Croatia centre-back Josko Gvardiol emerged as one of the stars of Qatar as he led his country to the semi-finals before they lost out to eventual winners Argentina.
And although the 20-year-old was being linked with moves prior to the tournament, the scramble for his signature stepped up a notch – as did his price tag – following events over the past month.
Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City and Bayern Munich were all mentioned as suitors pre-World Cup, while Chelsea jumped on board as Gvardiol continued to showcase his qualities.
And while Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have since taken a step back, London rivals Spurs and Chelsea continue to show significant interest.
That interest remains, despite Gvardiol’s price tag rocketing. Indeed, it started at round £44m, then shot up to £80m and now there is talk of him becoming the first £100m defender.
And that figure being mooted looks to have put off Bayern, following comments from their technical director Hasan Salihamidzic.
Bayern have made a thing out of snatching the best talent from Leipzig. Indeed, Dayot Upamecano, Marcel Sabitzer and boss Julian Nagelsmann have all swapped the Red Bull Arena for the Allianz Arena in recent seasons.
Austrian midfielder Konrad Laimer is also on his way to Bayern in the summer after he agreed a five-year deal.
But according to Salihamidzic, signing a new centre-half is not on the agenda for his club.
He said: “With Matthijs de Ligt, Dayot Upamecano and Lucas Hernandez, we have three top players in central defence. And (Croatian youngster) Josip Stanisic must also get minutes.”
Bayern snub gives Spurs, Chelsea hope
With Bayern now seemingly out of the way, that really does open the door for Premier League clubs to swoop.
Indeed, Tottenham’s interest in Gvardiol stretches back to last summer when they eventually brought in Clement Lenglet on loan instead.
The major issue for Spurs now is the rising price tag and whether Daniel Levy is prepared to pay it.
That scenario is unlikely to put off new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly though. However, doubts over Graham Potter’s long-term future at Stamford Bridge after a sticky run of results could end up working in Tottenham’s favour.
Given how he performed in Qatar, Gvardiol could become an even bigger name if he does move to the bright lights of the Premier League.
All that now remains is for Leipzig to agree to let him go and for whoever wants him to agree to the fee, however high that may be.
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