Boehly draws up plan to beat Real Madrid to £87m star as Chelsea identify alternative centre-back

Will Ford
Gvardiol Croatia

Chelsea will look to steal a march on Real Madrid in their bid to land Josko Gvardiol, but also have an alternative in mind.

The Blues reportedly made a late bid for Gvardiol in the summer, but the Croatian instead decided to extend his contract with RB Leipzig until June 2027.

Gvardiol cost the Bundesliga side just £15m from Dinamo Zagreb, but is now thought to be valued at around £87m.

A report on Thursday claimed Manchester City were ready to blow competition for the 20-year-old out of the water with a ‘monstrous’ bid of £110m, but Mirror believe it’s Chelsea and Real Madrid that are vying for his signature.

Chelsea are said to have spoken with Gvardiol’s agents over a three-and-a-half year deal.

Madrid are yet to approach his representatives, but the report claims they are expected to offer the centre-back a four-year deal staring in the summer.

And Todd Boehly believes Chelsea’s desire to get the deal done in January gives them the advantage.

The report claims Madrid are hopeful compatriot Luka Modric could play a part in swaying Gvardiol to move to the Spanish capital, but presumably Mateo Kovacic could be playing a similar role for Chelsea.

But Boehly has an alternative in mind according to Sky Sports.

It’s claimed the Chelsea owner will make a move for Piero Hincapie if he’s unable to persuade Gvardiol to move to Stamford Bridge.

Hincapie impressed for Ecuador at the World Cup and caught the eye of suitors ahead of Qatar with his displays for Bayer Leverkusen.

The 20-year-old is under contract with the Bundesliga side until 2026 and would represent a significantly cheaper option to Gvardiol, with reports suggesting he could be poached for around £30m.

But Gvardiol remains the top target and Chelsea will be hoping to benefit from the positive relationship built with RB Leipzig through deals for Timo Werner and Christopher Nkunku, whose move to Stamford Bridge has now been sewn up.

Asked about a move to Chelsea during the World Cup, Gvardiol said: “About me and Chelsea? I don’t know. You know what happened in the last few months. To be honest, I have no idea.

“My agent is taking care of this and we will see. Right now, I’m happy in Leipzig. I don’t know, we will see – you never know.

“You know the stories and these things, but all I can say is that I’m happy in Leipzig and right now I’m going to stay there and perform for them.”

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