Liverpool are reportedly set to rival Chelsea and Manchester City in the race to sign highly-rated RB Leipzig and Croatia defender Josko Gvardiol.

According to a report from Fichajes, Liverpool have become the latest Premier League side to set their sights on talented RB Leipzig central defensive powerhouse Josko Gvardiol, who is also a target for Manchester City and Chelsea.

After breaking into the first team picture at Dinamo Zagreb, he spent two years in the Croatian top tier before his €19 million move to the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig. The 20-year-old, who can operate as either a centre-back or left-back, established himself as a first-team staple for the German outfit during the 2021-22 campaign, contributing five goals while making 46 competitive appearances.

He has carried over that fine form into this season and has been a regular for Leipzig, featuring in 19 games across all competitions. He has also become a regular for his national side, and is currently on World Cup duty, shining in Croatia’s convincing 4-1 victory against Canada.

Regarded as one of the best young defenders in the world, Gvardiol is not just a promising defender; he is quick, strong in the air, and technically good on the ball, and his stellar performances are attracting attention from almost all of the top European clubs.

Gvardiol was heavily linked with a move away from the Red Bull Arena throughout the transfer window. Spurs, Manchester City, and Chelsea were all interested in signing him, but Leipzig were reluctant to sell their prized defender.

Instead, the defender signed a fresh five-year deal with the club on deadline day, committing his future until the summer of 2027, in a move that has seen his stock increase even further.

Chelsea, for one, have held a long-term interest and have had huge bids for Gvardiol rebuffed by the German club in the final knockings of the summer transfer window. They were recently contemplating a double swoop for RB Leipzig stars Christopher Nkunku and Gvardiol, but it appears they have decided to play the waiting game in the latter’s case.

The Blues, though, are running the risk of letting their target slip from their grasp, with the long list of suitors only likely to increase in the near future.

Like Chelsea, Manchester City were also strongly linked with a move for Gvardiol. Pep Guardiola wants to reinforce the back line following the departure of Oleksandr Zinchenko to Arsenal.

They eventually brought in Manuel Akanji, who has truly impressed during his time at the club, but Guardiola may want a younger defender to help rebuild and command the backline for the future. At 20 years old, Josko Gvardiol could be the answer and is already performing at a high level.

Liverpool have also jumped on the bandwagon of Gvardiol’s admirers. The Reds could be on the lookout for ways to bolster their ageing defence. Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip are both in their thirties and are enduring poor seasons, while young options Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez have struggled for form and fitness this season.

Thus, someone of world-class potential like Gvardiol could be a superb addition to Jurgen Klopp’s defence. It will be interesting to see if Liverpool can fend off the competition from their Premier League rivals and secure his services.

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