Chelsea owner Todd Boehly is ready to green-light a £77million bid for Croatia’s World Cup star Josko Gvardiol in a move that will likely rub salt into the wound for their former coach Thomas Tuchel. According to reports, the Blues are expected to launch a new bid for the highly-rated defender which would see him arrive at the club next summer.
Tuchel is understood to have been a huge fan of Gvardiol after keeping a close eye on his progress in the Bundesliga and instructed the club’s new owners to try and sign him in the summer transfer window. The German head coach even made a personal phone call to Gvardiol to convince him to join, only for the club to fail to strike a deal with the Bundesliga club.
At the time, the west London outfit had already signed Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly for a combined £104m earlier in the summer but still needed a new centre-back after the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen. However, Leipzig had no interest in selling the 20-year-old and even turned down a £77m bid on transfer deadline day.
His performances for Croatia have only underlined Chelsea’s inability to get the deal done, with Manchester City and Real Madrid also thought to be monitoring his progress after some stellar displays in Qatar.
But it seems Boehly is ready to right one wrong by making another offer for Gvardiol, although there is no release clause in his contract, according to German journalist Florian Plettenberg.
Boehly oversaw a £272m summer spend, a record amount for Chelsea in a single transfer window, before making the brutal decision to sack Tuchel just a week after the transfer window closed. His departure came the day after a 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League, although he later revealed there was a disagreement over the club’s future vision.
The American billionaire eventually replaced the Champions League winner with Graham Potter just days later and Tuchel later admitted he was left saddened by his exit as he wanted to continue working in the role.
News of their revived pursuit for Gvardiol will come as a further disappointment for Tuchel, who warned in pre-season that he needed more reinforcements after a heavy defeat to Arsenal and the failure to sign Gvardiol could have cost him his job.
“The last week proves my point. I would absolutely prefer not to be right. I did everything to prove myself wrong but at the moment I feel that I was right,” he said back in July.
“I look at the last season and parts of the game where we struggled, parts of the season where we struggled, and then we got sanctioned and players left us and some players are trying to leave us, and this is where it is.
“So we had an urgent appeal for quality players, a huge amount of quality players. We got two quality players but we are not competitive like this. Unfortunately you could see it today.”
it remains to be seen when Chelsea would be able to strike a deal with Leipzig, but relations have been smoothed over during talks over forward Christopher Nkunku, who is expected to seal a £60m transfer at the end of the season. Meanwhile, Tuchel is still without a club and will no doubt have some regrets over their failure to sign Gvardiol.
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