Chelsea have reportedly identified Josko Gvardiol as the heir to Cesar Azpilecueta in defence. The Spanish defender is being pursued by FC Barcelona. In the event of his departure, the RB Leipzig starlet will be the first Thomas Tuchel’s wishlist.
The 20-year-old has made a name for himself as one of Europe’s most promising defensive prospects. Gvardiol has mainly played in a back three for Leipzig. He made 46 appearances across all competitions in his debut season after moving from Dinamo Zagreb. The Croatian defender started 28 Bundesliga games and won the DFB-Pokal. Additionally, he scored two goals and contributed three assists through the course of the season.
Gvardiol has impressed one and all with his ball-playing ability. He ranks in the top 1% of dribbles completed in Europe’s top 5 leagues and top 3% in progressive passes. He has huge potential and a very high ceiling. Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte, and now Thomas Tuchel have all inquired about his availability.
How Feasible Is A Move For Gvardiol?
However, securing the signature of Gvardiol will be a tall order. He has a contract till 2026, and Leipzig are not willing to sell him. As a result, any attempt to sign him will require a sum north of 80 million Euros.
Azpilicueta is seemingly set to become the third Chelsea defender to head for the exit door after Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger left for Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively. They have planned on a number of alternatives, including Presnel Kimpembe and Jules Kounde.
If Chelsea can secure a move for Gvardiol, it will be a massive statement of intent. The Blues have missed out on Matthijs de Ligt to Bayern and would like to make amends. At just 20 years of age, Gvardiol can be a mainstay in their backline for years to come.
Follow us on Twitter for more football updates.