Tottenham Hotspur are among the teams interested in a move for Croatia titan Josko Gvardiol…
That’s according to Italian outlet Tuttomercatoweb, who claim that Lilywhites star Ivan Perisic is trying to convince his young compatriot that Spurs is the place to be, with manager Antonio Conte keen to secure his signature in 2023.
It’s thought that the north Londoners are after a new centre-back and that Gvardiol would be a big coup for the summer transfer window, though the 20-year-old gem is being courted by the majority of Europe’s top clubs.
The Athletic’s Jack Pitt-Brooke suggested in the summer that RB Leipzig’s asking price was in the region of £70m, so he won’t come cheap and will likely eclipse the club’s record signing of Richarlison (£60m).
But that’s what sporting director Fabio Paratici must do as he could land Spurs a real piece of the future as at just 20, Gvardiol has all the attributes to forge a long and successful career in the game.
In his home country, he has earned comparisons to some of the great centre-backs to still be playing. “Since he was a child, he’s been built like a tank. He can go forward, he can jump, he can tackle – he can do everything you want,” once claimed Germania Sport assistant editor Izak Ante Sucic.
“In Croatia, we like to compare him to Virgil van Dijk, because he’s built that way. He’s one of his role models in football and he’s also mentioned Thiago Silva and Sergio Ramos.”
His domestic form for Leipzig over the last year – when comared to his positional peers across Europe’s elite divisions – certainly suggests that he could be the next to follow in their footsteps – per FBref, the Croatian colossus ranks within the top 1% for passes and dribbles completed, as well as the top 5% for progressive passes.
An evidently sound centre-back in the modern game, the left-footed Gvardiol could be a better and more long-term option than Conte’s current option in Ben Davies as the 20-year-old averages more tackles won, interceptions and blocks made per 90 – on top of leading the way in three key passing metrics (FBref).
The 6 foot 1 brute has continued his meteoric rise at the World Cup, excelling for the Vatreni. Across just two games, he has not missed a single minute and has mustered up 166 passes, five interceptions and hasn’t been dribbled past once and also according to Fabrizio Romano, he’s now set for a “big move in 2023.”
His mega performances in Qatar have even led talent scout Jacek Kulig to dub him “the Haaland of defenders”.
On the above evidence, Paratici and his staff could secure Spurs an extraordinary signing in the form of Gvardiol, who would hand Conte a massive upgrade at left centre-back and one perfect for his counter-attacking, out-from-the-back system.
£70m or more, Gvardiol is worth every penny.