What Josko Gvardiol has said on his future amid renewed Chelsea transfer interest
Chelsea have reportedly renewed their interest in RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol. The Croatian has been a long-term target for the Blues and was reportedly close to securing a move to Stamford Bridge in the summer.
Todd Boehly is understood to have led talks over a deal worth £70million, but the U.S billionaire deemed the price tag demanded by the Bundesliga outfit too much. Instead, Wesley Fofana (£69.5million) and Kalidou Koulibaly (£33million) were signed.
Benoit Badiashile, a £32million signing from AS Monaco in January, has further strengthened Graham Potter’s defensive options. However, it’s claimed another centre-back is targeted in anticipation of Thiago Silva’s 2024 exit.
According to The Times, Chelsea have renewed their interest in the 21-year-old but must act fast in their attempts to lure the defender to Stamford Bridge as a £97million release clause within his contract becomes active in 2024. Boehly won’t be alone in the battle to sign Gvardiol, with Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid all linked.
Speaking to The Times in a recent interview, Gvardiol declared his ambitions of playing in the Premier League when looking back on a failed move to Leeds. “I had two options, between Leeds and Leipzig,” he said, “[Marcelo] Bielsa was the coach and I don’t know if you know this but my goal in my career is to play in the Premier League.”
He continued: “I knew that I needed to take a few steps more before I get [to the Premier League] one day. At the end Leipzig is a really good club and I feel good here. It’s important I play almost every game. I am very grateful to Dani Olmo because he was here and I spoke with him a lot of times before I decided to sign.”
Gvardiol also discussed interest from Chelsea last summer, insisting he would “definitely” consider a move from Chelsea. “I was really confused because one month before the window starts I was upstairs with the sporting director and he says, ‘Yeah Josko, we are not going to sell you, we need you, we believe in you,’ and I was like ok I am fine with this, I can stay here, I like it here, all I need is to work on myself, to play, to win something else. It was like this until the last two days.
“My agent called me and said that Chelsea is extremely interested and, of course, 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. It is what it is. “I am here and I am fine with this because my idea had been to stay here. One season was not enough. This is my second season, even one more season would be great but we will see.”
The Croatian isn’t the only Leipzig player on Boehly’s transfer radar, with football.london understanding Christopher Nkunku has a pre-contract agreement with the Blues and is expected to bolster Potter’s attack in the summer. Nkunku has scored 64 goals and assisted a further 52 for the German club since signing from Paris Saint-Germain and Gvardiol previously hinted at following the Frenchman to London.
“I have never seen before a player like Christoph, he is unbelievable,” Gvardiol said. “Every time I talk with someone about him I always say wherever he goes I want to go with him.”