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Chelsea eye £80m Josko Gvardiol to replace Cesar Azpilicueta

Josko Gvardiol

Chelsea are lining up a swoop for RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol to replace club captain Cesar Azpilicueta, according to the Sun

Gvardiol has emerged as a serious option for Thomas Tuchel. The German tactician has been looking to revitalise his defence all summer, having already lost Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger.

However, a deal for Gvardiol won’t be cheap as the Croatian could cost up to £80 million according to The Athletic (via The Express). The newspaper says he has a host of admirers including Arsenal and Manchester City. 

The 21-year-old made 46 appearances for RB Leipzig last season and was instrumental in his team securing UEFA Champions League and winning the DFB Pokal. 

Azpilicueta has been linked with a move to Barcelona all summer. The Spaniard is keen to return to Spain and Barcelona is his preferred destination. Fabrizio Romano also reports that the Catalan giants are looking to speed up negotiations with Chelsea for the 32-year-old.

The Sun also claims that the Blues are looking at £7 million to part ways with the veteran. Moreover, personal terms between Azpilicueta and Barca have been in place for several weeks.  The imminent departure of the Spaniard means Tuchel needs a replacement and Gvardiol is the chosen one.

Tuchel has already signed Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £33 million. Nathan Ake also emerged as a primary target but talks with Manchester City collapsed earlier this week. Chelsea are also in talks with Sevilla for Jules Kounde, having reached an agreement with the Spanish club for £55 million. 

Our View

Azpilicueta has been linked with a move to La Liga for a months. The Spaniard has been in London since 2012 and has made 474 appearances for the club. He was also made club captain in the process.

It will be a difficult task to replace someone like him, who is not only a technical defender but also a natural leader. Tuchel has a serious task at hand.

Gvardiol has the profile necessary to succeed in Tuchel’s system. He is a ball-playing defender who likes to play short passes and is also good at interceptions. However, will Chelsea be prepared to pay anywhere near £80m?

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