Chelsea has been told that they have to break the bank and cough out a lot of money to make RB Leipzig centre-back Josko Gvardiol the most expensive defender in history if they have to sign the Croatia international in January, according to respected journalist Fabrizio Romano.
The defender, who turns 21 next month, had been strongly linked with a move to Chelsea before the World Cup, however, his stock has risen drastically after he put out a string of immense performances in Qatar which culminated in Croatia finishing third. Now, Chelsea’s resolve to sign the Croatian defender will be tested, with Leipzig holding out for a significant transfer fee.
With other high-profile clubs such as Real Madrid, Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham all believed to be interested in the 20-year-old, Graham Potter’s side will have to be quick about things, with Romano stating that RB Leipzig is prepared to demand more than €100m from suitors to make Gvardiol the most expensive centre-back ever.
Since taking over the reins at Chelsea in September, Potter has constantly juggled different systems, making use of a back-three and a back-four on occasion, with Kalidou Koulibaly, Trevoh Chalobah, Wesley Fofana, Thiago Silva, Marc Cucurella and Cesar Azpilicueta variously tried out as centre backs. However, for what will be a record fee, Chelsea will definitely expect Potter to use Gvardiol as a first-choice centre-back.
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It will be recalled that Gvardiol played every match of Croatia’s campaign, scoring the opener in their 2-1 victory over Morocco in the third-place play-off after being thrashed 3-0 by eventual winners Argentina in the semi-finals.