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Chelsea could fix Fofana setback with Gvardiol signing

Chelsea have received a concerning injury blow just days away from their return to competitive action, following the conclusion of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

What’s the latest?

£75m summer signing Wesley Fofana has been shackled to the medical room for a large proportion of his time in Chelsea colours, having previously been sidelined after a knee problem.

And now, Football London reports that the centre-back suffered yet more damage to the knee in Chelsea’s conclusive midseason friendly fixture against Brentford.

Being withdrawn because of the issue, Blues boss Graham Potter will undoubtedly be gravely concerned over the 22-year-old’s availability following the final preparations ahead of the restart, with the club currently languishing in eighth place in the Premier League.

Enter Gvardiol

Fofana has made just six appearances for Chelsea since arriving from Leicester City earlier this year, seeing his endeavours halted following an injury sustained against AC Milan in October.

Potter will now be worried that the issue suffered against Brentford will allude to a recurring issue, which may severely hamper his progress at the club further. 

As per Sofascore, the Frenchman has completed 88% of his passes in the Premier League for Chelsea, making 1.8 tackles, 3.5 interceptions and 1.8 clearances, and FBref also highlights some impressive metrics from the “beast” – as dubbed by Arlo White – ranking him within the top 7% for interceptions and the top 10% for aerials won, when compared to centre-backs across Europe’s top-five leagues this past year. 

One ray of light that may stem from this is the acceleration of transfer plans concerning Chelsea’s interest in World Cup star Josko Gvardiol.

Gvardiol, who clinched third place at the 2022 edition in Qatar with Croatia, has been at the centre of reports stating that Chelsea are among the suitors for his signature.

As per Sofascore, the 20-year-old phenom averaged a sterling rating of 7.16 for his nation, keeping two clean sheets and playing a definitive role in the establishment of Croatia among the very elite footballing nations at present.

For RB Leipzig, Gvardiol has made 19 appearances this term, scoring one goal, and has already cemented his stature as one of the most touted centre-backs in the game despite his tender age and amid Fofana’s latest setback, he could be the answer to Chelsea’s woes.

Even if the Frenchman return to fitness and form soon, the Blues must not be deterred from securing their man, with Gvardiol more than capable of forming a seamlessly formidable partnership with the injured colossus.

After all, this is a player who is already among the elite, even being dubbed the “Haaland of defenders” by scout Jacek Kulig.

Further described as a “monster” by one journalist, Gvardiol could be the key to turning the flagging fortunes around, the defender, now valued by Leipzig at €80m (£70m) becomes a target that simply must be signed.