Chelsea make £31.5m RB Leipzig star ‘number one candidate’ to replace Barca-bound defender

Date published: Monday 18th July 2022 10:50 - Will Ford

Tottenham target Josko Gvardiol lifts the German Cup

Chelsea have identified RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol as their ‘number one candidate’ to replace Cesar Azpilicueta this summer.

Azpilicueta has been linked with a move to the Nou Camp for some time and has reportedly agreed personal terms with the La Liga giants.

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Sport (via Sport Witness) expect the Spain international’s tranfer to be completed in ‘a matter of days’, but won’t happen until Chelsea have lined up a replacement.

Thomas Tuchel is said to want a player with similar versatility to Azpilicueta, who can play at centre-back, or full-back.

And that’s what has attracted the Blues to Gvardiol, who is primarily a centre-back, but has also frequently played at left-back for Dinamo Zagreb and then Leipzig, following his £17m move to the Bundesliga side last summer.

Tuchel doesn’t want to lose his club captain but it’s thought the club are resigned to his departure with the 32-year-old very keen on a spell at Barcelona after numerous phone calls with manager Xavi.

Chelsea will allow him to leave if they bring in a replacement and Sport claim they’ve identified Gvardiol as their ‘number one candidate’, adding that he is seen as the ‘ideal signing’ for Chelsea.

It’s worth noting that Gvardiol would not be a direct replacement for Azpilicueta, given they play on opposite sides of the pitch, meaning the 20-year-old is perhaps more of an alternative for Marcos Alonso, who has also been linked with a move to Barcelona from Stamford Bridge this summer.

The Croatia international is valued at £31.5m by Transfermarkt, but the report claims Chelsea are hopeful of luring him from Leipzig for ‘less money’ this summer.

Meanwhile, Chelsea striker Armando Broja will ‘clarify his future very soon’ as he flies back to England with several clubs pushing to sign him.

He’s been linked with clubs in Italy, including Napoli, while Newcastle, Everton and Southampton have all reportedly sounded Chelsea out over a possible permanent deal.

And Football.London correspondent Adam Newson confirmed that the Albania international will now fly back from Chelsea’s US tour as he and the club consider offers.

West Ham are perhaps the side most heavily linked with Broja as they look to end their long search for a new striker, with a report over the weekend claiming the Hammers were set to lodge a £100m triple swoop of Broja, Gianluca Scamacca from Sassuolo and Lille’s Amadou Onana.

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