The truth about Chelsea target Gvardiol's release clause

Suraj Radia
Suraj Radia
  • 5 Dec 2022 20:59 GMT
  • 2 min read
Josko Gvardiol

Josko Gvardiol is on course for a move to one of Europe’s elite sides after continuing his impressive performances at the 2022 World Cup to guide Croatia into the quarter-finals.

Gvardiol has been a standout performer for Croatia on the global stage in Qatar, thrusting himself into the spotlight and attracting the attention of the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The 20-year-old had been strongly linked with a move to Chelsea and the Blues made an offer for him in the summer but Gvardiol ended up signing a new five-year deal with RB Leipzig instead.

HOW MUCH?: The price Chelsea would have to pay for Gvardiol

There was speculation that his new contract contained a release clause of around €40 million despite Leipzig turning down a reported €80m bid from Chelsea but Sky Sport Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg has claimed otherwise.

Plettenberg wrote on Twitter that, while plenty of clubs had enquired about Gvardiol, his deal does not contain a release clause until 2027, meaning there may be a bidding war for the Croatian.

The news would be a boost to Leipzig, with forward Christopher Nkunku already believed to have agreed terms with Chelsea ahead of summer move, with the Premier League side set to activate the €60m clause in his contract.

What does the future hold for Gvardiol?

A left-footed defender with a wide passing range and capable of playing at full-back, Gvardiol was already one of the most coveted young talents in football even before the World Cup.

However, his mature performances at the heart of Croatia’s defence have seen his country reach the quarter-finals having conceded just two goals in their four games.

Of the teams reportedly interested, Chelsea will likely push the hardest to sign Gvardiol despite the player being a major target of former manager Thomas Tuchel rather than the club.

Gvardiol spoke about the potential of joining Chelsea, admitting he would be interested in playing for the club ‘one day’ but he also made similar comments about joining Real Madrid.

TEMPTED: Gvardiol comments on Real and Chelsea speculation

The Spanish side would perhaps represent a more appealing option but Gvardiol would be competing with David Alaba for a place in Real’s defence, compared to Chelsea where he could slot straight in, while Barcelona would likely not be able to afford a bidding war.

Although Man Utd are also keen on a move, Lisandro Martinez has impressed at left centre-back and will likely be the long-term occupier of that role, meaning Gvardiol could be forced out to left-back as a replacement for Luke Shaw.

Should the reports of Gvardiol’s release clause be accurate, it would likely come down to whoever would be the highest bidder, and with Chelsea owner Todd Boehly still desperate to continue his big spending, the Blues could end up securing the signing of arguably the best young defender in the world.