The Croatian Gvardiol is quickly asserting himself as one of the standout young stars on the European scene, dazzling for both club and country despite having just turned 21 years old, and has subsequently earned interest from some of the continent’s most prominent outfits.
According to a report from The Mirror last month, Blues boss Graham Potter and technical director Christopher Vivell have been considering a January swoop for the colossus, but with AS Monaco’s Benoit Badiashile clinched for £35m, it appears that a transfer might not be forthcoming for the time being.
But now, speaking to GIVEMESPORT, German Bundesliga insider Christian Falk has stated that Chelsea would be the probable destination if the west London outfit were among suitors submitting a concrete bid, with his alleged £97m release clause perhaps proving to be a stumbling block for most intrigued parties.
Falk said: “I would say Chelsea would be favourites if they pay that amount, and also Tottenham can hope, but it’s really expensive.”
Having made 20 appearances for Leipzig this season, Gvardiol is swiftly emerging as one of the hottest defensive prospects on the globe, and has indeed found himself at the heart of intense speculation regarding his future, with Chelsea joined by the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur in pursuing a move.
Zach Lowy was impressed by the defender following his excellent performances for Croatia at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, remarking that his nation have the “leader of their defence for the next decade“, with the 19-cap star recording an average rating of 7.16 as his nation commendably clinched third place.
As per FBref, he ranks within the top 1% of central defenders across Europe’s top five leagues for dribbles completed, the top 2% for attempted passes and the top 5% for progressive passes, illustrating his offensive emphasis and ability as a creative force from deep within his side.
The young gem ranks within the top 25% of positional peers for rate of goals, and if he can continue to build the blocks in this regard he could emulate Chelsea legend John Terry, who made 715 appearances across an illustrious career at Stamford Bridge, notably captaining the side to five Premier League trophies, the Champions League and five FA Cups, among other honours.
Terry was a distinguished phenomenon at the back, a supreme leader as Gvardiol is, and a regular goalscorer for his outfit – notching a remarkable 74 times across the entirety of his career for club and country.
Thus, the Croatian powerhouse, who has been dubbed the “Haaland of defenders” by talent scout Jacek Kulig, could emulate the pathway paved by his veteran positional peer.
Lauded as a “gladiator” by journalist Ryan Taylor, Gvardiol could certainly be the unflinching warrior that Chelsea need to steer the club towards glory under Boehly’s reign, and with the abundance of refined defensive might belying the tender age and relative inexperience, there is certainly a platform from which he can flourish.
The centre-back would be a diamond acquisition for a Premier League outfit hellbent on finding a seat within the select pantheon of football’s very greatest and most eminent outfits, and with his inclusion, there could certainly be a very good chance that Boehly has completed the jigsaw to kickstart the new era.