Chelsea are exploring alternative transfer options for RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol, according to reports.
Graham Potter is on the search for another central defender despite having Kalidou Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana, Cesar Azpilicueta, Trevoh Chalobah and Thiago Silva at his disposal.
Silva and Azpilicueta are entering the latter stages of their time at Chelsea and another defender is on the wishlist for the Blues.
Gvardiol, 20, has been on the club’s radar and they tried to land him in the summer but RB Leipzig opted to raise the asking price and he, therefore, remained in Germany.
Chelsea haven’t lost hope of landing the Croatia international and are planning further talks, but will now face heavy competition from Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Gvardiol admitted during the World Cup that he’s left his future down to his agent, but hinted that he would be open to a move to Stamford Bridge.
“About me and Chelsea? I don’t know. You know what happened in the last few months. To be honest, I have no idea,” he told The Athletic.
“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.”
Gvardiol added on Chelsea: “It’s a big club of course and, who knows, maybe one day I will be there. It’s really nice to see things like this, especially because there is Kovacic, so you never know. I talk with him.
“Even to be here on this, the biggest event, it’s a big thing for me at 20 years old so I’m happy. I have to think about it.”
But as the battle for Gvardiol intensifies, Chelsea are broadening their targets and Bayer Leverkusen’s central defender Piero Hincapie is also of interest, as reported by Sky Sports.
He is seen as a ‘potential alternative’ to Gvardiol and could be available for around €30 million despite being contracted until June 2026.
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