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Gvardiol joins, Nkunku starts, Ziyech U-turn: Graham Potter’s dream Chelsea XI after £223m spend

The January transfer window is expected to bring lots of business across the board and Chelsea are one of the sides that will be the most active. Not only is Graham Potter looking to salvage his side’s season with so much left to play for there is also the small task of overhauling the squad.

Todd Boehly stamped his authority as co-owner last summer but now there will be key signs of development in everything the Blues do with efficient long-term planning just as important as beating Bournemouth on December 27 when football returns for Premier League sides.

Potter is looking to shape the squad but also mend it. The Blues have gaps across the field with rightback, central defence, central midfield and centre forward all looking bare and only set to worsen. To sort this out in January alone is impossible, but by the end of next summer the aim is to truly start moving forward.

Although this is too long for many and judgements on Potter have been made already, the end of the season is a better scale but still far too small to decipher his value in the wider scheme and the ‘project’, Chelsea will be in position to lose players not in the plans, develop younger players through the club and implement new signings as well.

With this in mind, here’s how Potter could have his side looking in the not too distant future.

Potter’s new No. 1 appears firmly above Edouard Mendy after his resurrection into the side before the domestic break. Although there are plans for a new shot-stopper to come in, given the attention needed elsewhere this could be kicked down the street a little bit longer. If either of them come into form then short-term worries can be eluded.

Reece James

Maybe the easiest pick of them all. The 23-year-old is a major miss when he’s out and balances the side from full-back. He’s in at right-back in a 4-3-3.

Wesley Fofana

Having been in and out of the side since joining, Fofana is one of the ‘like a new signing’ players that Potter will have in the New Year. With the age of Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva, getting the 22-year-old minutes and experience will be key to the defence moving forward.

Josko Gvardiol

The first new signing in this team, Gvardiol slots in at centre-back next to Fofana on the left. As a left footed, athletic and progressive defender he looks suited to the Premier League, Chelsea fans just need to hope Manchester City don’t get him first.

Ben Chilwell

Another major miss as the equilibrium of the squad gets thrown off, Chilwell is a big blow for Potter right now. When he’s back he’ll be straight into the action on the left of the defence.

Declan Rice

Perhaps the most important player in the side, if he joins. Rice offers a midfield shield to whoever he plays for and has been a long-term target for Chelsea. If Potter can get his hands on the West Ham captain over the summer for less than £75million, then Chelsea are in business.

Mason Mount

Rice’s best friend and England teammate, Mount slots back into his favoured midfield role as an orthodox No. 8. Although form has been down this season, Mount offers so much off the ball and can do a role between midfield and attack that very few can for the Blues.

Mateo Kovacic

This could easily have been Jude Bellingham, but we’ll limit the dream scenario a little bit, especially considering Rice is in there.

Kovacic, if fit, is one of the best players in a midfield three and can dictate matches, drive forward and evade spaces others simply can’t. Potter will be keen to get the most out of the Croatian in a well balanced midfield that perhaps only lacks goals.

Christopher Nkunku

To make up for the lack of goals, Nkunku has been purchased. He’s now all but signed for the Blues but won’t be playing until next season, with the agreement for June 2023.

With versatility across the frontline, Nkunku can float about and be a creative spark from either side of the attack or in behind. We’ve got him on the left, for now.

Hakim Ziyech

Coming in on the right in his favoured spot is a surprise. Ziyech may well be on the way out of Stamford Bridge but if Potter can harness any of the World Cup magic and dynamism that Morocco got out of him then Chelsea could be set for some entertaining times.

David Fofana

This is risky, especially given the Molde man is just 19 and will take time to adapt. But in a slightly futuristic Chelsea side, their expected £10million Ivorian striker is leading the line here. As a well balanced forward he can offer a focal point but also finishes on either foot.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang misses out due to his age, Kai Havertz doesn’t have a defined role and Christian Pulisic frankly had a worse World Cup than Ziyech, that’s about it. Armando Broja is a shoe in but his injury offers a more immediate chance for David Fofana in this side.

Chelsea dream XI (4-3-3): Kepa; James, W. Fofana, Gvardiol, Chilwell; Rice, Mount, Kovacic; Nkunku, D. Fofana, Ziyech

 

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Chelsea to fight Real Madrid to seal £100million double transfer – with one deal already done

Chelsea are planning to ramp up the pressure on Real Madrid in the battle for Josko Gvardiol by making a move to land him next month.

The Croatia defender, who plays for RB Leipzig, is wanted by both clubs but Los Blancos had planned to wait until the summer to try to sign him. And Leipzig, too, would rather sell him at the end of the season.

However, Chelsea don’t want to wait and the Bundesliga outfit are bracing themselves for a move from the Blues when the transfer window opens in two weeks. Gvardiol’s deal with the Bundesliga club runs until June 2027, having signed from Dinamo Zagreb in his homeland in 2021. He cost just north of £15million then but his value has tripled with Leipzig ready to demand around £45m with performance-related add-ons to follow.

Chelsea have spoken with Gvardiol’s agents about an initial contract offer of three-and-a-half seasons.

Real are not understood to have reached that stage of their pursuit yet but they are expected to offer the player a four-year deal from the summer. Rumours in Spain say there is a hope Bernabeu favourite Luka Modric, Gvardiol’s compatriot, could influence his decision.

But the defender will respect Leipzig’s call on whether or not to consider offers next month before making his choice.

Josko Gvardiol has impressed for Croatia

Meanwhile, Christopher Nkunku’s move to Chelsea is done and dusted — with the France star joining the club in the summer.

The Blues moved quickly in the past few months to stave off competition for Nkunku, who also plays for RBL.

And after terms were agreed prior to the World Cup, the deal to take him to Stamford Bridge in the summer has now been signed and sealed. Nkunku will cost Chelsea around £53million.

In the meantime, Chelsea will look for a loan striker for the rest of the season after Armando Broja suffered a campaign-ending knee injury. The Blues will rival Manchester United, who are also on the lookout to take a goalscorer on loan.

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Chelsea already have massive €100m offer on the table for defender

It looks like Chelsea’s new owners are not looking to slow down on the big spending any time soon.

After spending over £250m on new signings for the first team in the summer, they are looking to add to that with more big names over the next couple of transfer windows.

We have consistently seen Chelsea heavily linked with RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol, and they have often been touted as the favourites to sign him.

But after a great World Cup from him so far and the fact he is still playing there with Croatia, means interest has only grown and his valuation is probably doing just the same.

Chelsea have tried to get ahead of the competition and laid down a €100m offer on the table for Gvardiol, according to Foot Mercato. But they aren’t the only team unfortunately.

They also say that both Manchester clubs also have the same offers on the table for Gvardiol as well.

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Chelsea transfer news: Shock Jadon Sancho swap deal prepared as Josko Gvardiol boost given

Chelsea transfer news: Catch all the latest Chelsea transfer news including updates on Jadon Sancho, Josko Gvardiol and Youssoufa Moukoko.

Here is your Chelsea transfer roundup on Friday, December 9.

Shock Sancho move

Chelsea are interested in a shock swap deal with Manchester United for winger Jadon Sancho in the January transfer window, according to Calciomercato – via Football365. The England international has struggled since his big-money move from Borussia Dortmund last summer, but the Blues could look to turn things around.

In return, Christian Pulisic – who has been linked with United – could make the transfer the other way after some difficulties at Stamford Bridge himself.

Gvardiol chase

Chelsea are actively working on sealing a deal for RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol in the transfer window, according to reports from Fabrizio Romano. Discussing the 20-year-old, the transfer expert said: “The player knows in 2023 he will go to a top club. Let’s see if it’s going to be January or the summer.

“Chelsea are actively working on it, but there are also other clubs. Nothing is agreed yet between Chelsea and Josko Gvardiol. Clubs from Spain and England are keeping an eye on this top player. It’s almost impossible for Italian clubs.”

Endrick alternative

Chelsea are eyeing a deal for Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Youssoufa Moukoko as an alternative option to Palmeiras youngster Endrick. That’s according to Secret Scout, which claims that the striker’s representatives are keen on a free transfer in the summer, with his contract dwindling

 

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Exclusive: Chelsea remain interested in star after trying to get €80m transfer done in the summer

Chelsea are still interested in a potential transfer deal for RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol after failing to sign him during the summer.

The Blues were keen to reach an agreement with Leipzig over a fee of around €80million for Gvardiol, but the Bundesliga club refused to let the highly-rated 20-year-old go at that point.

This is according to Fabrizio Romano in his Daily Briefing, exclusively for CaughtOffside’s Substack, with the transfer news expert adding that it looks like being an open race for Gvardiol’s signature, though nothing will be decided just yet as the player’s focus is now on the World Cup.

Responding to fresh speculation over Gvardiol and Chelsea, Romano said: “Chelsea are interested and have been since last summer.

“They wanted him for 2023 in an €80m deal plus add-ons but Leipzig refused.

“At the moment I’m told Chelsea remain interested but there’s still nothing agreed; the race is open, nothing will happen now as he’s 100% focused on World Cup.”

The talented young Croatia international has shone in his time in German football and it’s easy to see why Chelsea were ready to spend big on him this summer.

The west London giants would still do well to bring this top talent to Stamford Bridge after the slightly unconvincing start made by Kalidou Koulibaly this season, while Thiago Silva is not getting any younger and is surely approaching the end of his top-level career.

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‘Probably going to’: Journalist says Spurs target might ‘end up at Chelsea’

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Alasdair Gold has been discussing Josko Gvardiol after a lot of summer interest from Tottenham.

The young Croatian has been one of the most sought-after defenders in the world over the past two years, and Spurs tried to throw their hat in the ring last summer.

Indeed, Gvardiol was touted as Spurs’ top target as they desperately scrambled to sign a new left-sided centre-back, but sadly for the north London club, a deal couldn’t be agreed.

With many clubs already planning for next summer’s window, Gold discussed Gvardiol as Tottenham continue to chase a player in his position, but unfortunately for Spurs fans, it sounds as though the RB Leipzig star won’t be headed to their club.

Gold, instead, says that Gvardiol is likely to end up at Chelsea after the Blues’ interest was widely reported.

GVARDIOL TO CHELSEA

Gold discussed Gvardiol’s potential destinations.

“I’ll be intrigued to see. I don’t think a January move is likely at all, but I am intrigued by what’s happening with Alessandro Bastoni at Inter. He was one of their top two centre-back targets in the summer, Gvardiol was the other, but they were massively priced out for him and he didn’t want to leave either. City and Chelsea are also massively looking at him, I think he’s probably going to end up at Chelsea maybe,” Gold said.

WELL-SUITED

In all honesty, a move to Chelsea for Gvardiol makes the most sense at this moment in time.

The Blues are ultra-rich and perennial challengers for the top honours and they’re desperate for a new player in that position.

Marc Cucurella is filling in there at the moment, but that experiment isn’t quite working out, so Chelsea need a new defender to fit into their back five in order for Cucurella to shift out to wing-back.

As nice as it would be for Gvardiol to join Spurs, a move to Stamford Bridge does make a lot more sense.

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Chelsea could line up with three new signings after £135m January spending spree

Graham Potter will be eager to make a number of signings in the January transfer window in order to mould the Chelsea side to his philosophy. The new Blues boss has enjoyed an unbeaten start to life in the job, with notable results against AC Milan – home and away in the Champions League.

He’ll be looking to extend his run leading up to the World Cup in November, but with injuries beginning to pile up amid an already congested fixture schedule, Potter will be keen to draft in reinforcements, whether they’re placeholders or first-team players.

Finding that balance amid recruitment will be crucial to keeping the harmony among the Chelsea squad, with a number of players already seemingly unhappy with diminutive game time and, therefore, linked with exits. So, with that being said, football.london has taken a look at how Chelsea could lineup after Potter makes three perfect signings in the upcoming transfer window.

Josko Gvardiol

Josko Gvardiol netted the opening goal in RB Leipzig’s 3-2 win over Real Madrid as he continues to grow into one of Europe’s finest talents. The 20-year-old defender was heavily linked with a move to the Premier League in the summer, but a switch failed to materialise after penning a five-year deal with the German giants instead.

football.london understand that Chelsea hold an interest in the Croatia international, but Leipzig do not want to sell the defender. According to The Telegraph, there’s a £43.6million release clause in his contract at the Red Bull Arena.

In May, a report from Croatia claimed that the youngster’s father flew to London to discuss a possible move with former head coach Thomas Tuchel. Gvardiol was reportedly eyed as a perfect replacement for Antonio Rudiger on the left of a back-three by the German.

With the Croatian’s release clause deemed a bargain by many, Chelsea should swoop in and wrap up a deal before it’s too late.

Bruno Guimaraes

The Blues are in desperate need of midfield reinforcements in January. N’Golo Kante, who is expected to be out for nearly four months, and Jorginho both see their deals at Stamford Bridge expire at the end of the season.

While Declan Rice would be the dream option, if Boehly can sign Guimaraes, then Potter shouldn’t pass up on the opportunity. According to the Evening Standard, Chelsea have expressed an interest in the Newcastle United star.

However, Chelsea are said to face great competition for the Brazil international from Real Madrid, who are also eyeing a move. The 24-year-old joined the Magpies in the summer for £40million and will have four years remaining on his deal in the summer.

The report adds that Newcastle are preparing talks to extend the Brazilian’s contract amid the growing interest in Guimaraes. It’s believed that he’s set to be offered an increased £200,000-a-week deal.

Jonathan David

Potter wants to sign a striker in January, according to French outlet Jeunes Footeux. The report states that former Arsenal target Jonathan David has been shortlisted and is being considered as an heir to the ageing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The £51.8million-rated striker, who sees his deal at Stade Pierre-Mauroy expire in 2025, has featured 12 times for Lille in Ligue 1 this season, directly contributing towards 12 goals. His impressive displays once courted the interest of Mikel Arteta before the Gunners opted to sign Gabriel Jesus instead.

David would be an exciting arrival in January who could inject some life into Chelsea’s attack following the World Cup.

How would Chelsea lineup?

Potter is spoilt for options when picking Chelsea’s front three. But, if the new Blues boss is eager to sign a new striker, then Boehly must put faith in the 47-year-old.

Early results have proved why Potter needs backing. With regard to midfield, a partnership between Guimaraes and Kovacic is a very attractive prospect.

How Chelsea could line up with three new signings in a 3-4-3

As aforementioned, Rice is, of course, the ideal option and signing Guimaraes leaves that door open for the West Ham captain to come in one day.

The west Londoners are also treated for option at the back. Though for the price Gvardiol is said to be available for, Chelsea must recognize the bargain that they could get – even if the Croatian is loaned back to RB Leipzig until the end of the season.

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“In pole position” – Journalist now drops exciting Chelsea claim involving “extraordinary” star

Chelsea are still in pole position to sign RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol, according to transfer insider Dean Jones.

Both the Blues and their London rivals Tottenham have been linked with the 20-year-old, but Jones thinks it is the former who are leading the race for his signature.

What is the latest news involving Gvardiol?

Football Insider recently reported that Tottenham are closely monitoring Gvardiol.

According to the website, the Premier League club sent scouts to watch the Croatian in Leipzig’s recent 2-0 Champions League victory over Celtic.

Prior to the above, The Telegraph claimed that Chelsea are planning to sign both Gvardiol and his team-mate Christopher Nkunku.

As per the same outlet, the centre-back has a release clause set at around £44m.

What has Jones said about Gvardiol, Chelsea and Tottenham?

Jones thinks Chelsea are better placed than Tottenham to sign Gvardiol.

Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, the journalist said: “I think we’ve got to keep Chelsea in pole position here. They’ve worked with RB before and obviously the talks with Nkunku recently probably work in their favour.

“They haven’t got relationship building to do. They’ve got a better track record in recent years as a club of finishing in the Champions League and competing for big trophies, so I still think Chelsea will be the frontrunners.”

Why do Chelsea and Tottenham both want Gvardiol?

Because he is one of the best young defenders in the world.

“Gvardiol is an extraordinary talent,” former Bayern Munich striker and Croatia international Ivica Olic said when discussing his countryman. “He can play great long balls, is a fine technician and is physically very strong.”

Chelsea spent a lot of money on central defenders during the summer, bringing in Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly for over £100m (via Sky Sports). However, the latter is 31 now, while Thiago Silva recently turned 38 and is out of contract at the end of the season.

At 33 years of age, captain Cesar Azpilicueta is not getting any younger either. When you consider that and the above, it is easy to understand why the Blues want to bring Gvardiol to Stamford Bridge.

They clearly want to sign another young defender and Gvardiol is easily one of the best out there.

With that being the case, Chelsea and Graham Potter are obviously going to face competition from other clubs, so it looks like there could be a real transfer battle for the Leipzig star’s signature next year.

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Chelsea likely to sign RB Leipzig star before the World Cup with his teammate set to follow

Chelsea are likely to sign RB Leipzig attacker Christopher Nkunku before the start of the World Cup and his teammate is set to follow him to Stamford Bridge.

Nkunku has had an impressive few seasons for RB Leipzig, performing exceptionally in the Bundesliga as well as in Europe.

The French international is likely to head to the World Cup in November where he will be hoping to impress any interested club, but it does appear a deal is already in the pipeline.

According to SportBild (via Sport Witness), Chelsea could secure the signing of Nkunku before the start of the World Cup, and his teammate Josko Gvardiol is set to follow him to Stamford Bridge.

Boehly has reportedly held regular meetings with Leipzig chief Oliver Mintzlaff after they originally discussed a deal which saw Timo Werner move back to his former club.

The signing of Nkunku would offer Chelsea a completely new dimension in attack. The Frenchman has pace in abundance and is capable of playing through the middle or out wide.

With Thiago Silva into the last year of his contract and reaching the last few years of his career, signing Gvardiol as a long-term replacement would be some shrewd business.

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Personal terms agreed as Chelsea close-in on double swoop for £96.4m duo – report

90min has claimed that Chelsea are closing in on a double raid on RB Leipzig to acquire Josko Gvardiol and Christopher Nkunku.

The source says that the Blues have maintained a line of communication with the Bundesliga outfit post the summer window. In fact, it is understood that personal terms with Nkunku and Gvardiol are already in place and now all remains for Todd Boehly and co. is to secure a final agreement with Leipzig over the transfer fees.

Christopher-Nkunku-rb-leipzig-2022

Chelsea made a late attempt in the summer to sign Gvardiol but they were knocked back. Nkunku on the other hand underwent a secret medical ahead of a potential move in 2023. The deal for Nkunku is said to be worth £52.8 million. Gvardiol though is said to have a release clause worth £43.6 million.

Therefore, the proposed double swoop could be worth £96.4m. RB Leipzig, however, are reluctant to sell both their prospects before the World Cup as impressive performances in Qatar could lead to bidding wars.

Josko Gvardiol

The idea behind Chelsea securing these deals way before the window opens is they want to get the transfers wrapped-up before any rival offers, and they also want to avoid any late dramas, as in the case of Wesley Fofana last summer.