Chelsea are reportedly willing to cough up €80 million to sign Liverpool and Manchester City target Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig.

According to a report from Spanish outlet Fichajes, Chelsea are prepared to fork out €80 million for the services of RB Leipzig’s central defensive powerhouse Josko Gvardiol to get ahead of the competition. Premier League rivals Liverpool and Manchester City are also interested in the 20-year-old.

Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly has clearly learned a lesson from the summer transfer window. The Blues had priority targets snapped up by rival clubs despite their willingness to pay over the odds. To avoid the same issue going forward, Chelsea are looking to wrap up deals well before the window opens, and before any rival offers, even if that means they will need to pay a premium.

Chelsea have already agreed a pre-contract to sign Christopher Nkunku, which will see the 24-year-old forward moving to Stamford Bridge next summer. And they are planning to pull off the same trick with one of his other highly-coveted club teammates, Josko Gvardiol.

Chelsea had made a late attempt in the summer to sign Gvardiol. But they were knocked back by the Bundesliga outfit. However, the Blues have remained in talks with RB Leipzig post the summer and are now looking to capitalise on their fruitful working relationship with the German club by snapping up their prized assets.

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The deal for Nkunku is said to be worth €60 million. Gvardiol, though, is said to have a much-lower release clause. And that is a startlingly low fee when the reported €80 million proposal is taken into account.

Graham Potter is working on an exciting project at Chelsea, especially after their summer recruitment drive. But more defensive reinforcements will be needed in the near future, with Thiago Silva 38 years old and Kalidou Koulibaly signed as more of a short-term fix.

To that end, Gvardiol – one of Europe’s most promising young ball-playing defenders – could fit into Potter’s system like a glove. He is a high-action defender with a broad range of passing skills and the ability to make progressive passes. The 20-year-old is also aggressive in terms of blocking passing lanes and a well-timed tackler.

Apart from Chelsea, Manchester City were also linked with Gvardiol last summer. But Leipzig warded them off, putting a not-for-sale sign on the Croatian defender’s head. While the Citizens have subsequently signed Manual Akanji on a low-cost deal from Borussia Dortmund, they may revisit their interest in Gvardiol next summer.

As for Liverpool, it is fair to say all of their defenders have largely underperformed and have been heavily criticised for their shoddy displays this season. Joe Gomez has struggled to find his form since returning from injury, Joel Matip looks to be a shadow of his former self, while Ibrahima Konate has been injury-prone since arriving at Anfield, making Gvardiol a viable target for the Reds.

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