Jurgen Klopp target confirms Prem ambitions as Liverpool, Chelsea set for summer defender tussle
Liverpool-linked Josko Gvardiol admits his future is in the Premier League with Chelsea also thought to hold an interest in the defender.
The 21-year-old jumped to the attention of Europe’s clubs when beginning his career at Dinamo Zagreb. German outfit RB Leipzig were the first to take a punt, with the Croatia international moving to the Bundesliga in the summer of 2021. The youngster excelled for Die Roten Bullen last term, making 46 appearances in all competitions.
He also received a first international cap in 2021 and has gone on to earn 19 for Zlatko Dalic’s side.
The versatile stopper was one of the standout young players at the World Cup, helping Croatia to third place in the tournament.
He scored the opening goal as the Balkan nation beat Morocco 2-1 in the third place play-off.
Gvardiol’s star is clearly on the rise and it would be no surprise to see clubs try to sign him at the end of 2022-2023.
READ MORE: World Cup winner’s father admits summer ‘possibilities’ to give Liverpool, Chelsea, Man City hope of capture
Liverpool have been strongly linked, with Jurgen Klopp tipped to revamp his defence this summer.
Options open for Gvardiol
Chelsea may well be the Anfield outfit’s biggest rival for his signature. The Zagreb-born ace was targeted by Leeds United before he moved to Leipzig.
He opted to delay a move to England at the time but has made it clear that the Premier League is his target.
“[Marcelo] Bielsa was the coach and I don’t know if you know this but my goal in my career is to play in the Premier League,” he told The Times.
“I didn’t speak with Bielsa but of course he sends a few people and they came to Zagreb.
“And I met these guys and they show me it was something like a plan how they see me in their style of football. I mean, when they presented it everything looked good and you could maybe see yourself there in that moment.
“I knew that I needed to take a few steps more before I get to [the Premier League] one day. At the end Leipzig is a really good club and I feel good here.”
Jurgen Klopp has been tipped to spend big in the off-season, with Gvardiol part of a possible £190m double deal.
His release clause stands at around £97m after penning a new deal at Red Bull Arena in September last year.
However, journalist Rudi Galetti recently reported that Leipzig would be willing to do business at £80m.
Both figures represent a significant outlay but are not beyond the Merseysiders or Blues.
Chelsea link remains strong
A report by football.london suggests the west Londoners are still very much in the market to sign Gvardiol.
Thiago Silva is still performing to a high standard but, at 38, cannot go on for ever.
Chelsea have long been admirers of the starlet but other clubs may well enter the picture.
Todd Boehly is not afraid to dig deep to get the players he wants, having parted company with £300m last month.
And the American will have to do the same if Chelsea are to land one of Europe’s most promising defenders.
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