- 31 January
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RB Leipzig may have already signed their replacement to Upamecano
RB Leipzig may have already signed their replacement to Dayot Upamecano, long before the defender agreed to join Bayern Munich.
On Friday the Bavarian club confirmed that they had agreed personal terms with the French international’s representatives and triggered the €42 million release clause to complete the transfer – beating the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool to his signature.
Not only did Bayern announce this during RB Leipzig’s Friday night clash with Augsburg, but the move undoubtedly looks like yet another example of the German giants picking on their nearest rivals.
However, while it may seem as though Julian Nagelsmann’s side have been caught off guard by Bayern swooping in for one of their talents, the east German side could have perhaps already signed their long-term replacement for Upamecano some time ago.
Back in September and long before the January transfer window or any suggestion that Upamecano was set to sign for Bayern, RB Leipzig completed the signing of a young defender by the name of Josko Gvardiol for a reported €16 million.
Although the fee Leipzig paid for Gvardiol may not have made much news – especially when we consider he has yet to make the move to the Bundesliga side – the transfer represents the highest ever fee paid for a Croatian teenager and the third highest ever paid for a Croatian defender. Which is all the more remarkable when we consider that the defender was just 18 when it was completed.
Despite his young age, Gvardiol has already made over 35 senior appearances for Dinamo Zagreb and is highly regarded as one of the most exciting defenders in European football at the moment.
Indeed, Leipzig’s strength in the Bundesliga doesn’t lie in their ability to keep players but in their unrivalled skills in finding even better young players to replace the ones that move on to Bayern, Chelsea or any other super club.
And while Nagelsmann may be frustrated at losing Upamecano to Bayern ahead of next season, the head coach and his backroom staff will undoubtedly be delighted to hear that the club have already found an exciting long-term replacement in hand.