Chelsea are in advanced talks to sign Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig but will reportedly loan the defender to the German club for the remainder of the season.
Thomas Tuchel was looking to reinforce a line of defense lost to 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 arrived from Napoli, while an agreement was reached with Leicester City to transfer Wesley Fofana.
But Tuchel was still interested in bringing in a third centre-back and according to transfer experts Fabrizio RomanoChelsea are now working feverishly to agree a deal for Gvardiol.
The Croatia international is regarded as one of the most promising young defenders in European football but Leipzig have insisted he is not for sale in this window.
Manchester United and Tottenham have both been linked with moves for the 20-year-old down the left, while Chelsea made multiple requests earlier in the summer.
But now Chelsea’s hierarchy appear to have managed to find a compromise that will allow them to land Gvardiol ahead of any of their rivals, with the west Londoners ready to send him back to Leipzig on loan for the remainder of the season.
Negotiations have progressed quickly and Chelsea presented an official proposal worth €90million (£77million) on Tuesday, which Leipzig are currently considering.
The deal would result in Gvardiol being loaned back to the Bundesliga for the remainder of the 2022-23 season before joining Chelsea next summer.
Despite Fofana’s imminent arrival and Koulibaly’s capture, Tuchel still feels he needs another young, high-quality centre-back to complete his defense and Chelsea are ready to play the long game to get their man .
Gvardiol is expected to be inundated with offers next summer after signing a new deal that included a release clause of just €50million (£43million) – but which will only become active in a year.
Chelsea are hoping to overwhelm the rival suitors by agreeing a much larger deal now, although it remains to be seen whether Leipzig will agree and whether the deal can even be completed before Thursday’s deadline.
Fofana is believed to have passed a medical in New York and his move is about to be announced, while Chelsea are also hoping to bring in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona to add more firepower at the helm.
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