By Daniel Feliciano

15th Apr, 2022 | 8:40pm

MOT View: Leeds should splash record fee on Josko Gvardiol to secure long-term Liam Cooper replacement

Leeds United are reportedly keen on signing Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig this season, and they should be willing to splash out a record fee to get him.

The Croatian international was a target for Marcelo Bielsa two summers ago as the Whites attempted to bolster their squad ahead of their return to the Premier League.

They were unfortunately pipped to his signature by the developmental ground that is the Bundesliga club, who offered to loan him back for a season to continue his development.

He has returned to the club this season though and slotted straight into the side to replace the highly touted Dayot Upamecano, and his form has once again attracted the Premier League club to the table.

But this time he will cost a touch more than he would have done two years ago, with a reported £27m fee meaning he would likely become the club’s record signing if they could get a deal done.

Gvardiol was recently named as Europe’s ‘most valuable rookie’ by CIES observatory for players under-23 playing their debut season in one of Europe’s top five leagues.

That alone should tell you how good he is and how good he could be, and is exactly why Leeds should move quickly to ensure that his signature is sealed this time.

Captain Liam Cooper is now in his thirties and missed much of this season with injury, something that has become more and more common as he’s got older.

The signing of Gvardiol would see him as the perfect foil for Cooper when both fit, but would also immediately see a new leader installed in the back line when he wasn’t around.

Manager Jesse Marsch’s relationship with the Red Bull organisation would surely be a help in negotiations too, but would give the club a new asset in the transfer market for the future to hold on to also.

Raphinha is likely to leave for big money this summer, while Kalvin Phillips has also been linked with a move away. Only one is expected to leave, but the club can spend that money wisely to bring in someone to replace them both in the squad and also on the books.

Taking that position in the league of having some players that are among the best of the rest outside of the ‘big six’ is always a good thing to do, and it helps that they’re not costing an arm and a leg.

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