By George Overhill

3rd Jun, 2022 | 9:52pm

RB Leipzig battle to keep Josko Gvardiol from Chelsea and Tottenham - report

RB Leipzig will battle to keep hold of defender Josko Gvardiol this summer as Chelsea and Tottenham move in, according to the Daily Mail.

The 20-year-old is a prime target for Thomas Tuchel considering the Club World Cup winners have just lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers.

With the sale of the club from Roman Abramovich to the Todd Boehly-led consortium now complete they are ready to spend again and have the Croatian near the top of their list.

Former Blues boss Antonio Conte also wants him at Spurs, but the Bundesliga side have other ideas and are reportedly “digging their heels in” as they try to prevent his exit.

The lack of a buy-out clause in his contract strengthens the German side’s position, as they look to fend off the mounting interest.

Prodigious talent

It is no surprise that Premier League giants are after the centre-back after a season where he made 46 appearances in all competitions and established himself as one of the leading names in Europe at the position.

Considering his age he will be an attractive prospect to all but the very richest clubs due to the resale value he will retain to years to come.

The defensive needs are pressing at Stamford Bridge as a combination of poor planning and unforeseen circumstances have seen a haul of names leave in the past couple of seasons without replacement.

Fikayo Tomori was sold to AC Milan only days before Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard, and has gone on to become a Serie A winner when he surely would have had a chance if his path had crossed the German’s in west London.

Kurt Zouma was then sold to West Ham and Marc Guehi to Crystal Palace, before contract negotiations with the two most recent exits hit snags.

The club were eventually put under sanctions due to the now-former owner’s links to Vladimir Putin in light of the invasion of Ukraine, ending talks.

With Cesar Azpilicueta potentially also leaving after a decade at the club that has seen him win everything, that leaves them with just the 37-year-old Thiago Silva, Trevoh Chalobah and the inconsistent Malang Sarr to cover the three central roles.

Youngster Levi Colwill may get a chance, but proven senior figures are being sought in Gvardiol and Sevilla’s Jules Kounde.

But with Leipzig preparing for a fight, and the Spanish side selling Diego Carlos to Aston Villa and already haven proven difficult to negotiate with last summer it looks like it is going to be a costly endeavour.

In other Chelsea news, a scouting expert says Conor Gallagher should have beaten Phil Foden to Young Player of the Year.