Chelsea are close to agreeing a deal with RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol for €87m, but the Croatian centre-back will spend the rest of the season on loan in the Bundesliga.
Gvardiol has been in high demand since his appearance in Leipzig last season. He was contracted from Dinamo Zagreb in 2020 but brought back, in a similar deal to what Chelsea are now proposing, before impressing last season.
Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur were previously linked with the transfer of the 20-year-old, but Chelsea stole a run against their rivals, but offered Leipzig the opportunity to keep the player until the end of the current season.
💭 Did you know… No player has played less than 2 ️⃣ 1 ️⃣ more minutes in # Bundesliga from josco #gvardiol. 📈 👏 pic.twitter.com/n8bu9s6XK3
– English Premier League (Bundesliga_EN) February 5 2022
Leipzig have been adamant about not wanting to sell Gvardiol in the current transfer window, with their chief executive Oliver Minstzlaff saying on Thursday: “Jusko still has a contract with us until 2026. We assume he will not only play with us this season, but next season as well.”
Chelsea lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively earlier this summer, but have since spent €110m on defenders Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella.
The Blues are on the verge of spending another 93 million euros on Leicester’s Wesley Fofana, making him the most expensive defender ever.
How good is Gvardiol?
A strong left-footed defender who is equally happy to play in a three-man defense as he is at left-back, Gvardiol started 28 of a potential 34 in the Bundesliga for Leipzig last season as they finished fourth in qualifying for the Champions League.
He averaged more than five forward passes and holds every 90 minutes in the first quarter, completing three interceptions and one dribbling per game—putting him in the 90th percentile or better of every measure among players for his league position.