Manchester United linked with a move for Josko Gvardiol

The transfer rumour mill is dropping a heavy hint this window – Manchester United want to sign a centre-back.

The latest name linked with a switch to Manchester United is RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol.

The Telegraph report United are considering a move for the defender, who is considered to be one of the most promising defenders in world football.

Let’s take a rundown of everything you need to know about the potential Red Devils signing…

Photo by Nico Paetzel/vi/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

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Josko Gvardiol: Key facts

1) Gvardiol plays for RB Leipzig, signing for the club in 2020 from Dinamo Zagreb, although was loaned back for a season.

2) Still only 20-years-old, Gvardiol has played 98 club games in his career so far, including 46 for Leipzig this past season.

3) He is a Croatian international already, with 10 senior caps to his name after making his debut for his country in June 2021.

4) Gvardiol is a left-footed centre-back and can also fill in at left-back, where he made seven starts for Leipzig last season.

5) Leipzig paid just £14 million to sign Gvardiol at the time, and he is under contract with the German club until 2026.

How much would Gvardiol cost now?

From a contract standpoint, Leipzig hold all the cards, and would be able to make significant profit on the defender, who they would be reluctant to lose after just one full season.

Manchester United are not the only club interested, with Chelsea and Tottenham both named in The Telegraph report as being keen on the Croatian.

With Christian Nkunku more likely to leave for a big fee, Leipzig won’t be under any financial pressure to sell.

Transfermarkt list Gvardiol’s value at £27 million, which is too low, while the CIES Football Observatory claim he is the second most valuable defender in world football behind Ruben Dias, at a staggering £84.2 million.

Gvardiol’s real value is somewhere in between. The Athletic report Gvardiol would command a fee in the region of £60 million.

Photo by Nico Paetzel/vi/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

What they say…

RB Leipzig sporting director told Bundesliga.com when they signed Gvardiol: “We’ve signed one of the best defensive talents in Europe.”

Marjan Sisic, Gvardiol’s agent, recently told FC Inter News: “He is strong, fast, intelligent, dynamic, courageous, gifted with good technique and capable of anticipating his opponent. And one who understands the game tactically.”

When asked to compare him in style to other centre-backs, Sisic responded: “Sergio Ramos and Virgil van Dijk’”

His former Dinamo manager Zoran Mamic told Scouted Football: “He is fast, so even if he makes a mistake, he can make it back. He pushes the line forward which is important for us here because we are dominating most of the games and playing possession-based football.

“He pushes the line to the centre of the pitch without problem; he knows he can catch the player. He is amazingly athletic. He has been like a superstar for a long time for our academy.”

What next for Manchester United’s interest

United’s current top centre-back choice appears to be Jurrien Timber, who manager Erik ten Hag knows extremely well from Ajax.

But keep an eye on Gvardiol, longer term, especially if RB Leipzig can keep hold of him this summer amid interest from other clubs.

Timber can play on the right, even at right-back, while Gvardiol has similar versatility on the left. Together they could be a world class pairing together, even if it takes until 2024 to sign both.

Gvardiol may be even more highly rated than Timber, so if there is a choice between the two, there is a real case to target the Croatian instead, and it will be interesting to see if United now pivot towards the Bundesliga ace, and revisit Timber at a later date.

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