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Chelsea in advanced talks to sign Josko Gvardiol after submitting eleventh hour £77million bid


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Chelsea in advanced talks to sign Josko Gvardiol after submitting eleventh hour £77million bid
Chelsea are in advanced talks to sign Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig but will loan the defender back to the German club for the rest of the season, according to reports.

Thomas Tuchel has been eager to strengthen a back-line that lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers at the end of last season and ideally wanted to bring in three new players this summer.

The club managed to secure a deal for Kalidou Koulibaly, who joined from Napoli, while an agreement has been reached with Leicester City for the transfer of Wesley Fofana.

But Tuchel has still been keen to bring in a third centre-back and, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea are now working furiously to try and agree a deal for Gvardiol.

The Croatia international is regarded as one of the most promising young defenders in European football but Leipzig have been adamant that he is not for sale in this window.

Manchester United and Tottenham were both linked with moves for the left-sided 20-year-old, while Chelsea made several enquiries earlier in the summer.

But now it appears Chelsea’s hierarchy have managed to find a compromise that will allow them to land Gvardiol ahead of all their rivals, with the west Londoners prepared to send him back to Leipzig on loan for the rest of the season.

Negotiations have advanced quickly and Chelsea submitted an official proposal worth €90million (£77m) on Tuesday, which Leipzig are currently mulling over.

The deal would see Gvardiol loaned back to the Bundesliga side for the remainder of the 2022-23 season before joining up with Chelsea next summer.

Despite the looming arrival of Fofana, and the capture of Koulibaly, Tuchel still feels he needs one more young, top-level centre-back to complete his back-line and Chelsea are prepared to play the long game to get their man.

Gvardiol is expected to be inundated with offers next summer after signing a new contract which included a buyout clause of just €50m (£43m) – but that only becomes active in a year’s time.

Chelsea are hoping to gazump rival suitors by agreeing a much bigger deal now, though it remains to be seen if Leipzig will agree and if the deal can even be completed before Thursday’s deadline.

Fofana, meanwhile, is believed to have passed a medical in New York and his move is close to being announced, while Chelsea are also hoping to bring in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona to add more firepower up top.

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