Chelsea will have to break the world record transfer fee for a defender if they are to sign one of their biggest targets in January. With reinforcements needed across the team heading into the new year Todd Boehly is ready to hand Graham Potter a war chest to boost their top four chances.
Potter has seen his side slide down the table after a torrid run heading into the World Cup break and faces a tough task to finish in the Champions League places. As well as a host of injury issues Chelsea have also struggled to bed in the £250million worth of talent spent over the summer.
Due to the large amount of changes to the squad and behind the scenes with directorial moves, Potter now needs to transform his side. The gap to fourth is 11 points though there are two games in hand over Tottenham with 24 matches still to play.
Given the competitiveness at the top of the table, with Newcastle, Spurs, Manchester United and Liverpool all in a battle for the two places below Arsenal and Manchester City, Chelsea could turn to a major January spend in order to overturn their fortunes.
Chief amongst this plan is signing Croatia star Josko Gvardiol. The 20-year-old was outstanding in Qatar and accumulated plenty of interest from across Europe including City and Real Madrid. Boehly thought that a deal worth £77million had been tied up over the summer for Gvardiol but he then signed a new deal in Germany.
He has remained at the forefront of Chelsea’s mind but it could come at a huge cost, with transfer expert Fabrizio Romano revealing that he could become the most expensive defender ever. He told GiveMeSport: “Now, Leipzig want way more than €90million (£79.3million). They hope to go for more than €100million (£88.1million) to make Gvardiol the most expensive centre-back ever.
“Chelsea are still working on it. They are still in contact with people close to the player and Leipzig.” Earlier this year Chelsea did all they could to ensure that Wesley Fofana cost less than Harry Maguire’s current record fee of £80million, but Leipzig demanding £88million would put Gvardiol out in front.
For this reason Chelsea have turned towards Monaco defender Benoit Badiashile, with the Athletic reporting that a £30million deal is being worked on for the 21-year-old. Due to Thiago Silva being 38, Fofana being injured and Kalidou Koulibaly taking time to adapt to the league, there is a demand for extra cover at the back.