Leeds Closing in on £18m Deal for Dinamo Zagreb Wonderkid Joško Gvardiol

Josko Gvardiol
Leeds are keen on Josko Gvardiol | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Leeds United have been tipped to complete a deal for Dinamo Zagreb youngster Joško Gvardiol in the near future after lodging an £18m bid for the centre-back.

Gvardiol only made his senior debut for Dinamo last season, breaking through towards the end of the campaign and finishing the year with 13 appearances in all competitions.

View this post on Instagram

Talentirani branič Joško Gvardiol stavio je potpis na novi ugovor koji će ga sljedećih pet godina vezati uz GNK Dinamo ??????⚽️? Dinamovo dijete i standardni reprezentativac produkt je nogometne škole Dinama, a prvi seniorski nastup za Plave upisao je u listopadu 2019. protiv Gorice. Dva tjedna kasnije stigao je prvi pogodak protiv Intera iz Zaprešića. - Svako dijete koje se bavi nogometom u Zagrebu sanja da zaigra za Dinamo. Svoj sam san ispunio kada sam debitirao, a ovaj potpis znači da je sve do sada na obostrano zadovoljstvo. Nikada nisam žurio i stvari sam prihvaćao kakve jesu. Želim se afirmirati u Dinamu, vratiti klubu sve što je uložio u mene pa tek onda mogu razmišljati o onome što me čeka. Zaista sam sretan i ovim putem želim se zahvaliti svojoj obitelj koji su mi uvijek bili potpora, suigračima i trenerima te klubu – rekao je Joško Gvardiol po potpisu ugovora ???? Čestitamo! ?? #dinamozagreb #zagreb #hrvatska #croatia

A post shared by GNK Dinamo (@gnkdinamo) on

Dinamo plan to keep the 18-year-old around and have used him in their squad during their Champions League qualifying games this summer, with Gvardiol playing 66 minutes in a recent victory over Romanian side Cluj. According to 24sata, Marcelp Bielsa kept a close eye on that match and was impressed with the defender.

Bielsa is believed to have lodged an £18m bid for Gvardiol, and Sportske Novosti believe that could be enough to get the deal done as Dinamo are hardly in a financial position to reject such a high fee, despite their desire to keep with teenager.

There is also competition from RB Leipzig, who are said to have submitted their own bid worth a total of £18m, and the German side would be prepared to let Gvardiol spend at least one more season in Croatia before making the move to the Bundesliga - something both Dinamo and Gvardiol would like.

Dinamo Zagreb v Benfica - UEFA Youth League Quarter Final
Leipzig are also interested | Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images

However, a large part of Leipzig's offer is in bonuses and add-ons, meaning Leeds' cash-upfront offer may be more appealing.

It is suggested that Dinamo's desire to cash in is greater than their wish to keep Gvardiol, and unless they receive a third bid, Gvardiol is expected to join either Leeds or Leipzig in the near future - perhaps after the next qualifying game against Ferencváros on September 16.

It's a bold move by Bielsa to invest so much money in an unproven teenager, especially when that fee could be spent on a veteran who could help them in their first season back in the Premier League.

Marcelo Bielsa
Bielsa wants more defenders | George Wood/Getty Images

Leeds have already spent £13m on defender Robin Koch from Freiburg, who is expected to slot in alongside captain Liam Cooper at the heart of Bielsa's defence, so there may not even be a regular spot in the starting lineup for Gvardiol.

Having said that, the boss is rarely scared to deploy a three-man defence, meaning Gvardiol could step in in place of Ben White, who returned to Brighton following the expiration of his loan spell.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!