Chelsea target had ‘option’ to join Leeds in 2020; player ‘struggled’ after ‘serious offer’ was rejected
RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol has revealed that he had the “option” to join Leeds United in 2020, but he is now being pursued by Chelsea.
Gvardiol has established himself as one of the best defenders in the world over the past couple of years. Lionel Messi got the better of the Croatia international in the World Cup semi-finals, but he was superb barring that display.
The 21-year-old signed for Bundesliga side RB Leipzig in 2020 when he was just 18 years old. He has now revealed that he could have signed for Leeds United instead.
“I had two options, between Leeds and Leipzig,” Gvardiol told The Times.
“[Marcelo] Bielsa was the coach and I don’t know if you know this but my goal in my career is to play in the Premier League. I didn’t speak with Bielsa but of course, he sends a few people and they came to Zagreb.
“I met these guys and they show me it was something like a plan for how they see me in their style of football. I mean, when they presented it everything looked good and you could maybe see yourself there at that moment.
“I knew that I needed to take a few steps more before I get [to the Premier League] one day. At the end, Leipzig is a really good club and I feel good here.”
Gvardiol has since been targeted by Premier League side Chelsea. It was reported during the January transfer window that he “will eventually” join the London outfit.
Chelsea made a bid to sign the centre-back towards the end of last year’s summer transfer window. This transfer did not end up going through and he has admitted that he “struggled” after not getting this move.
“I was really confused because one month before the window starts I was upstairs with the sporting director and he says, ‘Yeah Josko, we are not going to sell you, we need you, we believe in you,’ and I was like ok I am fine with this, I can stay here, I like it here, all I need is to work on myself, to play, to win something else. It was like this until the last two days,” Gvardiol added.
“My agent called me and said that Chelsea is extremely interested and, of course, you definitely think about a serious offer from a huge club like Chelsea. Leipzig said they didn’t want to sell me.
“In the end, I really struggled with that decision but we didn’t make an agreement. It is what it is. I am here and I am fine with this because my idea had been to stay here. One season was not enough. This is my second season, even one more season would be great but we will see.”
He continued: “I have never seen before a player like Christoph [Nkunku], he is unbelievable. Every time I talk with someone about him I always say wherever he goes I want to go with him.”
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