Mateo Kovacic reveals role in Chelsea's bid to sign Josko Gvardiol

Tom Gott
Kovacic was full of praise for Gvardiol
Kovacic was full of praise for Gvardiol / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic has confessed he spoke to the club about signing fellow Croatian Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig this summer.

20-year-old Gvardiol was one of Chelsea's early targets to bolster in defence but Leipzig made it clear that they were not prepared to sell this summer, prompting Chelsea to look elsewhere and eventually bring in Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella and Wesley Fofana.

Following the £70m deal to bring in the latter, Chelsea returned to Leipzig with an offer to sign Gvardiol in 2023 instead, but the bid was rejected and he ended up signing a one-year contract extension.

Ahead of Chelsea's Champions League clash with Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday, Kovacic was asked about the links to Gvardiol and he confirmed he urged the club to try and get a deal done.

"At the club, they asked me about Josko, I told them all the best," Kovacic told reporters. "I don’t need to say anything about his football, they know what kind of player he is, and his character is excellent.

"I have seen in the national team how eager he is to play, he has a great career ahead of him, and I hope that one day we will play together in the club."

Chelsea are expected to make contact with Gvardiol once again in January to try and secure his signature for the summer, with Blues officials reluctant to involve themselves in another drawn-out saga like the one that led to Fofana's arrival.

Now under contract until 2027, Gvardiol's new deal is not believed to contain a release clause.

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Kovacic also took the time to update fans on his knee injury after manager Thomas Tuchel's revelation that he could need surgery.

"I’m getting better, I had some problems with my knee after national team and pre-season," he added. "It was a tough pre-season for me but I’m recovered now and getting better day by day. I need to get my match fitness back but games and training are there for that.

"So I’m looking forward to getting better every day."