Chelsea coach on red alert as Barcelona hijack Chelsea plan to sign £44m ‘next Antonio Rudiger’

Chelsea coach on red alert as Barcelona hijack Chelsea plan to sign £44m 'next Antonio Rudiger'

Chelsea have been handed a huge blow in their mission to sign RB Leipzig star Josko Gvardiol. The 20-year-old defender was heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in the summer as Todd Boehly looked to bolster the club’s backline.

 

football.london understand that the Blues hold an interest in Gvardiol, but Leipzig do not want to sell the defender. According to The Telegraph, there’s a £43.6million release clause in the Croatia international’s contract with the German side.

In May, a report from Croatia said that the youngster’s father flew to London to discuss a possible move with former head coach Thomas Tuchel. He was reportedly eyed as a perfect replacement for Antonio Rudiger, being dubbed the new big left sided centre-back – a modern centre-half who continues to impress on the left of a back-three for club and country.

Despite Chelsea’s long interest in Gvardiol, the Blues could soon miss out if they don’t react accordingly. Spanish outlet Sport, as quoted by the Express, report that Barcelona are eager to acquire the Croatian’s services as they look to replace the retired legend Gerard Pique.

 

But, the Blues could have an advantage amid the commotion. In September, Mateo Kovacic revealed the role that he played in Chelsea’s initial swoop for Gvardiol. Speaking to the press ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League group stage opener with Dinamo Zagreb, the Blues midfielder admitted that he’s hopeful of playing with his fellow countryman at club level one day.

At the club, they asked me about Josko. I told them all the best,” Kovacic said. “I don’t need to say anything about his football. They know what kind of player he is, and his character is excellent. I have seen in the national team how eager he is to play, he has a great career ahead of him, and I hope that one day we will play together in the club.”

Gvardiol is set to play a key role in any success that Croatia enjoy at the World Cup this winter. Chelsea will likely be keeping a close eye on the defender, who has been widely regarded as the club’s top target.

 

Croatia kick-off the tournament against Hakim Ziyech’s Morocco on November 23 before locking horns with Canada on November 27. Gvardiol and Kovacic will then play Eden hazard’s Belgium in the final group-stage clash on December 1.

 

 

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