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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Chelsea cannot avoid £25m Josko Gvardiol warning as Thomas Tuchel's transfer wishlist revealed

  Fikayo Tomori lifting the Scudetto with AC Milan over the weekend painted a bittersweet picture for Chelsea fans. On the one hand, it w...

 

Fikayo Tomori lifting the Scudetto with AC Milan over the weekend painted a bittersweet picture for Chelsea fans. On the one hand, it was lovely to see a Cobham graduate excel away from Stamford Bridge after a difficult period, a similar sentiment many feel towards Tammy Abraham's success at Roma.

But his success and continuing development as a defender stings as Chelsea are forced to rebuild their defence with the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen. Tomori was sold to AC Milan after a loan for £25m, shortly after another left-sided defender Marc Guehi was sold for £20m to Crystal Palace. Further shortening Chelsea's internal options with the contract crisis looming before the season.

Now, as we start to gauge where Chelsea are aiming to invest their money in a vital summer, similar alarm bells should be ringing when it comes to one of Thomas Tuchel's reported targets. RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol is reportedly on an eight-man shortlist of defenders the Blues are eyeing up as potential replacements, according to The Telegraph.

Gvardiol is liked by Tuchel, and the 20-year-old Bundesliga player would be seen as the left-sided option to replace Rudiger for next season. However, the Croatian's age and position pose questions over the future of a Cobham talent in Levi Colwill. Two years younger than the Leipzig man and has spent the season on loan at Huddersfield, who are in the play-off final this Saturday.

Colwill was handed a new Chelsea deal last summer that keeps him at the club until 2025. But the pathway that was created last summer with Tomori, Guehi, Abraham and Tino LIvramento all taking control of their careers and moving on to instant first-team opportunity is a trend Chelsea must work to eradicate.

A lot of the excitement over Gvardiol is due to his minutes in a top-five European league and playing for a Champions League club. Though do his skills translate to the Premier League? Is the Championship, a more physically demanding league, a more suitable education to prepare young defenders for the top flight?

Why should Chelsea spend money on a young left- sided defender when they have got one already ready to be promoted? And if your argument is purely on Colwill not having top-flight minutes, then you would have passed on Mason Mount, Reece James, Tomori and Trevoh Chalobah.

The overwhelming evidence of the past three years is that internal solutions have proved more consistent, valuable and versatile than external options the club have paid for. If you are concerned about bodies with Cesar Azpilicueta potentially departing too, then Torino's Gleison Bremer feels an older option who has proved versatile for Torino across a back-five in Serie A.

Like Jules Kounde , Gvardiol is a highly rated defender, and maybe he might prove a genius piece of business that boosts the squad in the coming years. But fans have seen these situations play out before, and given how much of a mess the club's approach to squad building has been over recent years, the fear of losing Colwill to develop elsewhere cannot be ignored.

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