Rumour Has It: Chelsea prepare £77m offer for Leipzig defender Gvardiol

By Sports Desk August 31, 2022

Chelsea are looking to make another massive long-term investment, with reports they are aggressively moving for 20-year-old RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol in a deal that would cost £77.4million (€90m).

Gvardiol, who has 10 senior international caps for Croatia to his name, has established himself as one of the most exciting young defenders in Germany.

He has been linked to a host of elite clubs, but Chelsea appear to be at the front of the queue and would allow the centre-back to stay at Leipzig until next year.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA PLAN ANOTHER CENTRE-BACK SPLURGE FOR GVARDIOL

The Stamford Bridge club have made a number of big defensive signings in this window, with Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella set to be followed by Wesley Fofana.

Koulibaly is 31, though, and has joined veteran Thiago Silva at the heart of the defence, explaining why Chelsea may already be looking at a succession plan.

Fabrizio Romano says the Blues are "in advanced talks" with Leipzig over a deal that would be completed now but only see Gvardiol make the move in 2023.

ROUND-UP

– PSV forward Cody Gakpo appears destined for the Premier League, with The Telegraph reporting Everton, Leeds United and Southampton are all interested in a player believed to be valued around £30m.

– The Telegraph has named a list of potential Fulham targets, including former Chelsea winger Willian, Paris Saint-Germain defender Layvin Kurzawa, Roma winger Justin Kluivert and Marseille forward Bamba Dieng

– The Daily Mail is reporting Brighton and Hove Albion are investigating a move for Billy Gilmour, although Chelsea's lack of depth in midfield could complicate matters.

– Aston Villa forward Douglas Luiz has some high-profile admirers, with Matheus Leal reporting Liverpool have submitted a £20m bid, and The Telegraph adds Atletico Madrid are also prepared to make the same offer.

Leicester City are negotiating a deal for their potential Fofana replacement in 24-year-old Reims centre-back Wout Faes, believed to be worth £17.2m, according to the Daily Mail.

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    Cristiano Ronaldo denied on Tuesday that he has agreed to join Saudi club Al Nassr after Portugal's World Cup adventure.

    The striker became a free agent after being released from his Manchester United contract last month and reports have claimed Ronaldo has agreed an extraordinarily lucrative deal to play in Saudi Arabia.

    Suggestions of a bumper contract offer from the Saudi Pro League club emerged last week, with Ronaldo said to be in line to earn well over £100million a year.

    However, the 37-year-old says the reports of him signing a deal with Al Nassr are wrong.

    Speaking after coming off the bench in Portugal's 6-1 win over Switzerland at the World Cup, a rare substitute appearance for his country, Ronaldo was asked about the move.

    "No, it's not true," he told reporters.

    Ronaldo was allowed to leave United after a television interview with Piers Morgan saw him criticise the club's owners and signal his lack of respect for manager Erik ten Hag.

    He said he felt "betrayed" by the club, alleging there were efforts being made to force him out, with his second stint at United ending in a messy break-up less than 18 months after his arrival from Juventus.

    The five-time Ballon d'Or winner may struggle to find a top-tier club in Europe, given his relative decline in form in recent times, compared to his peak years at Real Madrid, and the huge salary he is expected to be seeking.

    The money may be no object in Saudi Arabia, but it remains unclear whether Ronaldo does not fancy that switch, or whether the deal is simply not over the line yet.

    Ronaldo also sent his best wishes to Pele, who is being treated in a Sao Paulo hospital.

    A report in Brazil at the weekend claimed the three-time World Cup winner had entered palliative care following a cancer battle. That has not been confirmed by the hospital, family, or Pele himself.

    There have been a host of fond messages sent to the 82-year-old since concerns were raised about his health, and Ronaldo joined in. According to Record, Ronaldo said: "Get better, get better Pele. Our king has to get better. That's all we want."

  • Knockout bow beyond Ramos' 'wildest dreams' but hat-trick hero unsure of quarter-final role Knockout bow beyond Ramos' 'wildest dreams' but hat-trick hero unsure of quarter-final role

    Goncalo Ramos is unsure if he will be picked ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo again in Portugal's World Cup quarter-final after a last-16 experience beyond his "wildest dreams".

    The Benfica striker was a surprise choice from the start in Tuesday's game against Switzerland but justified his selection by hitting a hat-trick in a 6-1 rout.

    The pre-match focus was on Ronaldo's demotion to the bench, but Ramos hogged the limelight once the match kicked off.

    Even starting seemed improbable for the 21-year-old, who made his international debut in November, let alone scoring three times.

    "Not even in my wildest dreams I thought of being in the starting eleven in the knockout stages of the World Cup," Ramos said, but he does not know if he will keep his place for a last-eight meeting with Morocco.

    The forward added to RTP: "These are matters that are not for me. I have to work to the fullest and then you see what's going to happen."

    Ramos was named the player of the match and revealed Ronaldo's support in his post-match news conference.

    "Honestly, in our team, no-one talked about [Ronaldo being dropped]," he said. "Cristiano as captain did as he always does, helped us, encouraged us, not only to myself but to my colleagues."

    The level of Ramos' performance may have come as a shock to some, but not to team-mate Bruno Fernandes.

    "If you've never heard about him, it's because people are not aware of the quality of the Portuguese league," the Manchester United man said.

    "He has been doing really well in the Champions League, first in the group of PSG, so people should be aware of Goncalo, of his qualities.

    "I'm really happy for him, because a hat-trick at his age is a big achievement. But for Goncalo and for everyone else, the most important thing is that we are in the quarter-finals against Morocco."

  • Bruno on benched Ronaldo: 'Do you think Cristiano would be happy?' Bruno on benched Ronaldo: 'Do you think Cristiano would be happy?'

    Bruno Fernandes suggested Cristiano Ronaldo had been angry with Fernando Santos' decision to bench the Portugal captain, while he believes the veteran forward also would have thrived in the 6-1 win over Switzerland.

    Ronaldo came out of the Portugal XI following a moment of controversy in the side's previous match against South Korea, when he appeared to insult Santos after being substituted.

    Santos "really didn't like it at all" but insisted the matter had been "resolved" before naming Ronaldo among the substitutes against Switzerland in the last 16 of the World Cup.

    Goncalo Ramos, drafted in to replace Ronaldo, scored a hat-trick in a stunning display at Lusail Stadium, while the Portugal skipper failed to net as a second-half substitute – though he did see an effort rightly ruled out for offside,

    Asked of Ronaldo's reaction following Santos' decision, Fernandes said: "It was like everyone else. Do you think anyone likes to be on the bench?

    "Jose Sa – he didn't play one minute, he knows that he's the third goalkeeper, but he's not happy to be on the bench.

    "Do you think Cristiano would be happy? If the manager in the next game put me on the bench, I would be angry."

    But Fernandes bristled at the idea Portugal had won specifically because Ronaldo had come out of the team.

    "We won the first two games with Cristiano in the first XI," the midfielder said. "If Cristiano had played, he could have scored three goals and nobody would be talking about Cristiano on the bench.

    "Cristiano is doing his job, he's doing his part, and he's happy with the result, because the goal for everyone is to go as far as possible.

    "I don't think people should be talking about the situation with Cristiano and why he's playing, why he's not playing.

    "When Cristiano plays and the team wins, nobody talks about that. When Cristiano plays and the team loses, everyone talks about that."

    Even as Portugal scored goal after goal in the second half, the crowd in Lusail chanted Ronaldo's name and jeered as they waited for his introduction.

    Fernandes added: "Cristiano is the most famous player in the world, of all time. No-one is more famous than Cristiano in sports. Not in football, in sports.

    "It's normal that people come to see Cristiano, cheering him and everything. I don't see any surprise in that. I don't know why anyone is surprised by that.

    "Cristiano is Cristiano. It's normal that people are cheering him, even if he's on the bench and not playing. It's a simple thing."

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