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Graham Potter ‘could make Josko Gvardiol his first signing at Chelsea’

Graham Potter ‘could make Josko Gvardiol his first signing at Chelsea’

New Chelsea boss Graham Potter could reportedly make RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol his first signing during the January transfer window.

Potter was confirmed as Thomas Tuchel‘s replacement last week, and the former Brighton & Hove Albion manager is likely to be given a healthy budget to improve the squad at the start of 2023.

Chelsea were linked with Gvardiol in the latter stages of the summer market, and according to Bild journalist Christian Falk, the defender could potentially move to Stamford Bridge at the turn of the year.

There were claims that the London giants were prepared to pay as much as £77m for Croatia international, but Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff ruled out a move late in the window.

“Josko still has a contract with us until 2026. We assume that he will not only play with us this season, but also next season,” Mintzlaff told Bild.

Josko Gvardiol warms up for RB Leipzig in November 2021© Reuters

The 20-year-old penned a new contract with Leipzig at the start of this month, and he is now signed to the Bundesliga outfit until the end of the 2026-27 campaign.

However, Chelsea are believed to be determined to sign him next year, with Potter giving the green light for the club to move for the youngster.

Gvardiol started his professional career at Dinamo Zagreb before making the move to Leipzig, and he has represented the German side on 52 occasions, contributing two goals and four assists in the process.

The Croatian has featured on 34 occasions in the Bundesliga, while he has played six times in the Champions League for the Red Bulls.

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Graham Potter on August 13, 2022© Reuters

Upon the confirmation of his arrival as Chelsea head coach, Potter said that he was “incredibly proud and excited” to have the chance to manage the club.

“I am incredibly proud and excited to represent Chelsea FC, this fantastic football club. I am very excited to partner with Chelsea’s new ownership group and look forward to meeting and working with the exciting group of players and to develop a team and culture that our amazing fans can be proud of,” he said in a statement.

“I would also like to place my sincere thanks to Brighton & Hove Albion for allowing me this opportunity and in particular Tony Bloom and all the players, staff and supporters for their continued support during my time at the club.”

Potter’s first game in charge of Chelsea was due to be the London derby with Fulham on Saturday afternoon, but the match was postponed, with the full set of matches in England’s top flight called off as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

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