Manchester City are lining up a move for RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The English newspaper claims that the Premier League champions have targeted the 21-year-old to replace Aymeric Laporte.
Gvardiol does have a release clause set at €114m (£98m) but it is believed that Leipzig will be “open” to letting the centre-back leave for around €100m (£86m).
The likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United have all been linked with the Croatian international over the last year but Laporte’s desire to leave the Etihad means City are the likeliest to table an offer this summer.
Laporte is unsettled at City
When asked about his future after the FA Cup final win against United on Saturday, Laporte hinted that he may leave. The Spaniard admitted he hadn’t enjoyed the season as much as previous years due to a lack of game time and, when asked about a potential transfer, he replied:
“I can’t talk about these things.”
The lack of commitment suggests that Laporte will be pressing for an exit, meaning the Citizens will be on the lookout for a replacement, with Gvardiol seemingly their number-one option.
Gvardiol has a fan in Rio Ferdinand
Croatia’s run to the World Cup semi-finals last year was mainly down to their stout defending, and Gvardiol was a key component in their success. In December, former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand expressed his admiration for the centre-back, saying:
“I have to say, he has been my favourite defender to watch in the tournament so far. He has got a great presence, he is happy for the battles, very physical and has a wand for a left foot. He has got pace too and I think all those attributes you need as a modern day defender.”
That some praise from one of the Premier League’s greatest centre-halves. We shall see if City do step up their interest in Gvardiol over the coming weeks.