The defensive acquisitions under Chelsea’s new owners have divided opinions.
The signing of Benoit Badiashile looks to be a shrewd piece of business, but Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella have endured extremely troubled times in their debut seasons at Stamford Bridge; the latter notably being dubbed a “liability” by sections of the media.
This pairing have been regularly singled out as major contributing factors in Chelsea’s dismal demise into midtable mediocrity.
Josko Gvardiol is a name that has been suggested to transform the Blues’ fortunes and propel the club back to where it belongs.
What’s the latest on Josko Gvardiol to Chelsea?
According to 90min, Manchester City are the frontrunners for the 21-year-old, but Chelsea retain an interest having come close to signing him last summer.
The West London outfit nearly completed a £77.7m deal for the Croatian back then, and it has been revealed that Gvardiol has a buyout clause worth around £100m in his current contract that is activated from 2024.
How would Josko Gvardiol fit in at Chelsea?
The centre-back has made 41 appearances for RB Leipzig in all competitions, scoring three times, as he has enjoyed an exponential rise to global stardom.
His popularity skyrocketed at the World Cup as he played every minute of the tournament and was widely praised for his formidable physicality and composure.
The 21-cap international received huge adulation from Rio Ferdinand, who said: “He has got a great presence, he is happy for the battles, very physical and has a wand for a left foot.
“He has got pace too and I think all those attributes you need as a modern-day defender.
“He can pay the ball over various distances, he has pinpoint accuracy. He beats any type of press, is comfortable on either foot and is as comfortable with the ball at his feet as he is running out with it defensively.
“Also, the aggressiveness. He is willing to get forward, that youth, that fearlessness.”
A player of this potential and reputation could form a mind-blowing partnership with Levi Colwill, who the Blues are determined to keep the player amid reports of a £40m bid being weighed up by Brighton.
The 2021 Champions League winners are reportedly intent on keeping the Englishman, who possesses an abundance of elite similarities to Gvardiol.
This is showcased by the fact that the Leipzig titan sits within the best 18% in Europe’s top five leagues among his positional peers for progressive passes and progressive passes per 90, and Colwill ranks slightly better in the top 12% for both metrics.
This ability to orchestrate attacks from their deep-lying berths, allowing their team to retain the ascendancy is an invaluable asset, that is an indispensable trait for any elite side.
If Mauricio Pochettino can begin next season with the aforementioned duo at Stamford Bridge, the club will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with.
Described as “incredible” by Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic, the defender is destined for the top.