Manchester United have reportedly joined the transfer race for RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol.
The defender has played every minute of Croatia’s World Cup campaign at the heart of defence alongside Dejan Lovren, helping his nation beat Brazil in the penalties and qualify for the semi-finals. The youngster has only seen his stock skyrocket at the World Cup with impressive performances, with Croatia conceding only three goals in five games so far.
According to French outlet Footmercato, Manchester United have made a bid of €90 for Croatia and RB Leipzig star Josko Gvardiol. Manchester City and Chelsea have also submitted big proposals, while the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona are also interested in securing the services of the defender, the report adds.
Gvardiol, 20, joined RB Leipzig from Dinamo Zagreb in 2020 before being loaned back for a season. Since arriving at Leipzig, he has grown into a colossal figure and leader at the back, establishing himself as one of Europe’s finest young defenders.
Josko Gvardiol to Man United—Right option for Ten Hag?
Manchester United backed their new manager Erik ten Hag massively in the past summer transfer window, bringing in as many as six new players. After a disastrous start to the 2022/23 season, Ten Hag’s side have recovered very well and lie fifth in the table.
Overall, it should be viewed as a decent first part of the season for Ten Hag, who has the job of rebuilding the club and taking it back to the top. One of the areas the Man United boss needs to work on is the defence, with the team conceding 20 goals in 14 games.
Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane forming a strong partnership in central defence has seen club captain Harry Maguire lose his place in the starting XI. Martinez has been among the Red Devils’ most consistent players since his big-money arrival from Ajax in the summer, providing energy and leadership skills to the defence. The Argentinean being left-footed has seen him bring much-needed balance to United’s rearguard under Ten Hag.
With Varane struggling with fitness since joining the Red Devils in 2021 and Maguire’s form taking a massive dip in the last 12-15 months, Ten Hag could do with defensive reinforcements.
With that in mind, however, United must avoid splashing the cash for Josko Gvardiol.
Gvardiol has grown leaps and bounds as a player with Leipzig, and his excellent displays at the World Cup have ignited a bidding war across Europe. Man United are also in the race, but having signed Martinez from Ajax in the summer, they should look to bring in a young and reliable right-footed centre-back to partner him next year, if they intend to spend big to bolster the defence.
Being a left-footed defender, who can also operate at left-back, Gvardiol doesn’t fit the bill at Man United at the moment. Plus, the Croatian is valued at over €100m and the Red Devils cannot spend such a sum on a defender, particularly when they have other areas to reinforce—such as the striker and right-back position.
While Josko Gvardiol would likely improve Europe’s most elite teams, Ten Hag and United are not exactly in need of the highly-rated Croat.