Chelsea are back in the race to sign RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol in the near future, as per Tom Roddy of The Times. This comes after they signed Benoit Badiashile from AS Monaco in January to improve their backline for the rest of the season.
Chelsea Renew Interest in Josko Gvardiol Signing
Exclusive: Chelsea have renewed their interest in Joško Gvardiol. Release clause of £97m comes into effect in 2024. #cfc interest dates back to 2019. https://t.co/pdoU6YIONa
— Tom Roddy (@TomRoddy_) March 2, 2023
Chelsea Must Sign Gvardiol This Year to Avoid £97 Million Clause
The Blues were eager to sign the Croatian defender last summer and reportedly made an offer that involved Timo Werner being sent to Leipzig in return, something that was rejected. It appeared that their interest had diminished once they signed the young French defender in January to provide more depth in their backline.
However, The Times indicate that Chelsea have now renewed their interest in Gvardiol after keeping an eye on him since he was 17. But, they must act fast to get a deal done for a reasonable price because a clause in the five-year contract Gvardiol signed in December 2022 stated that a release clause of £97 million will become active in his deal from 2024 onwards.
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So if the Blues want to sign him for something lower than that, they’ll probably have to push for his signing in the summer transfer window. Gvardiol even addressed the Chelsea interest in an interview recently, saying: “You definitely think about a serious offer from a huge club like Chelsea. Leipzig said they didn’t want to sell me. In the end, I really struggled with that decision but we didn’t make an agreement.”
Chelsea to Face Competition for Gvardiol Transfer
The Times also adds that the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur are also interested in signing the Croatian centre-back and are ready to compete with Chelsea for his acquisition. This comes after Gvardiol had a brilliant Qatar World Cup campaign with Croatia and became one of the emerging players to come out of it.
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The 21-year-old centre-back helped his side go all the way to the semi-finals, helping them keep two clean sheets and concede just seven goals in as many games. Gvardiol was named as ‘one of the biggest winners of the World Cup’ by Germany legend Jurgen Klinsmann after the tournament for his heroics.
He has been performing well for Leipzig this season too and recently scored in their 1-1 draw against Manchester City in the Champions League Round of 16 first-leg last week.