Blow for Boehly: PSG, Laporte interest sees Man City re-enter race to sign top Chelsea target

Jason Soutar
Josko Gvardiol celebrates his goal

Man City ‘will turn to’ RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol in the summer, should they sell Aymeric Laporte, according to a report.

Gvardiol shone for Croatia as they finished third at the 2022 World Cup.

Many Premier League fans were able to get a closer – or first – look at the promising young centre-half during the tournament in Qatar.

Incidentally, Gvardiol scored for Leipzig in their 1-1 Champions League last-16 draw at home to Man City last month.

There is a lot of interest in the 21-year-old, who reportedly came close to joining Chelsea last year.

He is expected to cost around £100million and it is believed that Liverpool have now joined the race as Jurgen Klopp looks to sort out his side’s defensive issues.

Leipzig only paid a fee in the region of £15m to sign him from Dinamo Zagreb in 2021.

Gvardiol likes flirting with moves elsewhere, saying in June 2021 that he dreams of playing for Liverpool.

“Since I was a little boy, my dad and I watched Liverpool matches, and I grew up with only them,” he said.

“When I took football more seriously, I started following them, and I definitely want the Premier League and Liverpool.”

The 21-year-old has also openly discussed joining Chelsea and Real Madrid.

“[Chelsea are] a big club of course and, who knows, maybe one day I will be there,” he said last December. “It’s really nice to see things like this, especially because there is [Mateo] Kovacic, so you never know. I talk with him.”

He has also been on the record saying: “Real Madrid is the biggest club in the world, so who knows… maybe one day I can play there. I would like to, yes.”

Man City are yet to be given such a glowing review from the young player, though they have shown they can get big-money deals done without any fuss, so you really cannot rule them out.

And with interest coming from Paris Saint-Germain in City defender Aymeric Laporte, rumours they will go in for Gvardiol have accelarated.

Laporte was recently reported to be one of five City stars unhappy with manager Pep Guardiola – with one of those players being Joao Cancelo, who joined Bayern Munich in January.

The Spain international’s future at the Etihad is in doubt given his lack of consistent starts under Guardiola this term.

Spanish newspaper Sport reported over the weekend that the Premier League champions would be willing to let Laporte leave this summer, with Barcelona keen.

The report states that Guardiola is ‘counting little’ on the 28-year-old and wants to bring in Gvardiol.

Laporte is the ‘left-footed centre-half Barcelona are looking for’, but will be unable to afford him, the report states.

The former Athletic Bilbao defender has also been linked with a move to French champions Paris Saint-Germain with Gvardiol becoming a top target.

According to the Daily Star, the exit of Laporte will see City ‘turn to’ Gvardiol in the summer transfer window.

PSG have a ‘strong interest’ in Laporte and the Citizens are ‘willing’ to listen to offers in the region of £60m, which would help fund their bid to sign the Croatia international.

The report adds that Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd and Real Madrid are also in the race to sign the young defender.

Chelsea have been linked with Gvardiol longer than any of the above, but look set to miss out on Champions League football, which could deal a huge blow to their summer plans.

It is claimed that the Leipzig contract Gvardiol signed last December includes a £97m release clause that will not become active until 2024.