RB Leipzig executive Oliver Mintzlaff has warned Chelsea that they have no plans to offload centre-back Josko Gvardiol.
After failing with a move for the Croatia international earlier this summer, Chelsea have opened talks with Leipzig over a £77m move which would see Gvardiol return to the Red Bull Arena for the remainder of the 2022/23 season.
90min understands there is a confidence that the deal will be completed in the near future, but Mintzlaff has warned Chelsea that selling Gvardiol is not part of Leipzig’s plans.
“Josko is a great player who will certainly arouse a lot of interest – he still has a contract with us until 2026,” he said. “We assume that he will not only play with us this season, but also next season.”
Leipzig have made it clear to Chelsea that they are not prepared to sell Gvardiol this summer – that was their stance even before fellow defender Lukas Klostermann went under the knife to address an ankle injury – but the Blues are hopeful of convincing them to sell next year instead.
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Chelsea have spent the last few months chasing Leicester’s Wesley Fofana, for whom three bids were rejected before a fee of over £75m was finally agreed between the two clubs after weeks and weeks of tricky negotiations.
Those in charge at Stamford Bridge are keen to avoid a similar drawn-out saga next summer, by which point Thiago Silva will be 38 and out of contract, so plans are being made now to line up Gvardiol’s arrival in 2023.
As far as this transfer window is concerned, Chelsea are still hopeful of bringing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in from Barcelona, with Marcos Alonso moving in the opposite direction in a separate deal.
Talks are also on with Crystal Palace over Wilfried Zaha, who could be signed in place of Everton’s Anthony Gordon, for whom talks have stalled after a £60m bid was rejected.