Marcelo Bielsa is reportedly softening on signing another centre-back this summer after Robin Koch joined Leeds United from Freiburg.
Despite only being 18, he would reportedly cost more than Koch (who joined for £13m). The fee talked about for Gvardiol is £17.8m.
Croatian journalist Ivan Žeželj said a deal was practically done, although the player wouldn’t join until after Zagreb’s Champions League qualifier.
And the player has dropped a really big hint that he could be Elland Road-bound after he started following Leeds United on Instagram.
His account is private and you have to request access but MOT Leeds News was added this morning and we can confirm that he is following the official Leeds account.
What’s more, Gvardiol is also following Andrea Radrizzani’s business partner Lorenzo Tonetti.
Of course, this doesn’t mean a deal is done but it is a pretty big hint that something is going on.
What would Leeds be getting?
Josko Gvardiol has made 13 first-team appearances for Dinamo Zagreb, and played 66 minutes in their recent Champions League qualifier.
If Ivan Žeželj is correct, then Zagreb see him as important to their chances of qualifying for the Group Stage of the Champions League. That would net them an eight-figure sum.
His numbers per 90 minutes are good, with eight interceptions and a 57% success rate in aerial duels.
Gvardiol's stats p/90m so far in Dinamo:
2,3 tackles attempt -72%
7 free-ball won
12 duels -60%
3,7 aerial duels -57%
1 dribble -73%
— Dino Grgić (@Dino_Grgic) August 31, 2020
SmarterScout have said that the centre-back closest to him in style in the Premier League is Man City’s Eric Garcia.
The 19-year-old centre-back is tipped for big things at the Etihad and although the near-£18m fee for Gvardiol seems high, if Bielsa has spotted a real talent this early on, he could be a really good buy.
If we look for the Premier League LCBs with the most similar style to Gvardiol's at Dinamo, we find short spells by Eric García in 2019-20 and Gabriel in 2016-17. But also this man in his first season at Manchester City:
Joško Gvardiol =
Josep Guardiola in Croatian? 😁
— smarterscout (@smarterscout) August 31, 2020
In other Leeds United news, Graham Smyth delivers update on ‘signing of the summer’ for Leeds – claims he will be at Anfield