Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel recently confirmed that Antonio Rudiger will leave the club in the summer. Despite the club’s numerous offers, Rudiger has made up his mind. As a result, the Blues are now searching for the center-back’s replacement. Many are linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, and a surprise addition to the list has been made. RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol is the new name on Tuchel and Chelsea’s wish-list.
Antonio Rudiger‘s contract is up in the summer and Chelsea have been unable to renew it. The club is under heavy sanctions thus making it difficult for them to offer big contracts. Thomas Tuchel recently announced in the media the reasons behind Rudiger’s forthcoming exit. He said,
“The situation is that he wants to leave the club. He informed me of this is in a private talk. We gave everything – me and the club – but we could not fight anymore because of the actions. Without the sanctions, we would at least be able to carry on fighting, but our hands are tied. We don’t take it personally. It is his decision.”
“We had big offers for him and the club tried everything. But for some weeks, we can’t fight anymore”. All said and done, Tuchel has now shifted his focus towards signing Josko Gvardiol of whom he is a “big fan”.
However, the Leipzig man is a surprise target as we take a look at why Tuchel wants him.
Who is Josko Gvardiol? The player preferred by Thomas Tuchel
Josko Gvardiol currently plies trade with Bundesliga side RB Leipzig. The 20-year-old joined them last summer from Dinamo Zagreb for a fee of £17 million. Gvardiol quickly established himself as a starter at Leipzig and has made a massive 42 appearances so far for them. The center-back’s 28 outings have come in the league, with 27 being starts. Moreover, his exploits have earned him 10 caps with his national side Croatia as well. However, not the appearances, Gvardiol clock impressive stats as well.
In his 28 league games, Gvardiol posts 1.6 successful tackles and 1.8 interceptions per game. Although the standards of the Premier League and Bundesliga differ by a huge margin, Gvardiol outranks Rudiger in both the departments. Rudiger has 1.3 tackles and 0.9 interceptions per game to his name in the same number of appearances as Gvardiol.
Furthermore, Gvardiol achieves a pass success rate of 84% and 3.5 long-balls per game as well. Surprisingly, the Croatian chips in with 1.3 dribbles per game too. To put it in context, his stats at 20 justify why Tuchel wants Josko Gvardiol. His market value stands at £27 million, but it would take double what Leipzig paid to Zagreb for Chelsea to sign Gvardiol. According to that, the Blues would need to table an offer of around £34 million.
Given his potential, Tuchel won’t mind spending £34 million on Gvardiol. Sky Germany reports that Tuchel is a “big fan” of Gvardiol who is according to the same report happy at Leipzig. Nonetheless, Chelsea would surely try their luck rather than splashing money outright on their other target Jules Kounde. Sevilla are demanding a fee in the range of £60-£70 million to part ways with their asset. Chelsea could save huge funds if they somehow manage to sign Josko Gvardiol as Rudiger’s replacement.
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