Chelsea are in advanced talks to sign Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig but will loan him out to the German club for the rest of the season, according to reports.
Thomas Tuchel has been keen to strengthen a backline that lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers at the end of last season and ideally wanted to bring in three new players this summer.
The club managed to close a deal for Kalidou Koulibaly, who joined from Napoli, while an agreement has been reached with Leicester City for the transfer of Wesley Fofana.
But Tuchel has still been interested in bringing in a third centre-back and, according to the transfer expert. Fabricius RomanoChelsea are now hard at work trying to reach a deal for Gvardiol.
The Croatian international is considered one of the most promising young defenders in European football, but Leipzig have insisted he is not for sale at this window.
Manchester United and Tottenham were linked with moves for the 20-year-old left-back, while Chelsea made several inquiries earlier in the summer.
But now it looks like the Chelsea hierarchy have managed to find a compromise that will see them land Gvardiol ahead of all their rivals, with the West Londoners poised to send him back to Leipzig for the rest of the season.
Negotiations progressed quickly and Chelsea presented an official proposal valued at €90m on Tuesday, which Leipzig is currently considering.
The deal would see Gvardiol loaned out to the Bundesliga side again for the remainder of the 2022-23 season before joining Chelsea next summer.
Despite the imminent arrival of Fofana and the capture of Koulibaly, Tuchel still feels he needs a senior, younger centre-back to complete his line of defense and Chelsea are prepared to play the long game to land their man.
Gvardiol is expected to be inundated with offers next summer after signing a new deal that included a release clause of just €50m (£43m) but will only kick in a year from now.
Chelsea hope to surprise rival suitors by agreeing a much bigger deal now, though it remains to be seen whether Leipzig will agree and whether the deal can be completed before Thursday’s deadline.
Meanwhile, Fofana is believed to have passed a medical in New York and his move is close to being announced, while Chelsea are also hoping to bring in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona to add more firepower up front.
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