Chelsea hope to sign Josko Gvardiol alongside Christopher Nkunku

Josko Gvardiol playing for Croatia - Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images
Josko Gvardiol playing for Croatia - Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Chelsea will try to complete a double raid on RB Leipzig by bringing defender Josko Gvardiol to Stamford Bridge alongside striker Christopher Nkunku, who has signed a pre-contract agreement.

Chelsea are set to pay slightly more than Nkunku’s £52.58 million release clause to ensure they sign him next summer, having already put the 24-year-old through medical examinations.

Nkunku's pre-contract agreement means he will play out the season in Germany before moving to Chelsea, barring any major hitches.

The situation is reminiscent of Liverpool’s deal to sign Naby Keita from Leipzig, when the English club agreed to pay £52m for the midfielder and allowed him to play out the entire season in the Bundesliga before moving to Anfield in 2018.

Just as Chelsea have capitalised on Nkunuku’s situation, Gvardiol has a release clause in the Leipzig contract he signed this summer following interest from Chelsea.

The Croatian defender’s release clause is thought to be set at about £43.6m and Chelsea held advanced talks with Leipzig this summer about signing the 20-year-old, who is rated as one of Europe’s best defensive prospects.

Chelsea signed Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly in the summer transfer window, but with Thiago Silva aged 38 and Cesar Azpilicueta celebrating his 33rd birthday in August, the strong interest in Gvardiol remains.

Koulibaly is yet to play under new head coach Graham Potter after the 31-year-old suffered a difficult start to his Chelsea career.

Despite spending almost £300m this summer, Chelsea are already planning to make more significant additions, including an attempt to muscle in on the queue of clubs hoping to sign midfielder Jude Bellingham and a bid for West Ham United’s Declan Rice still on the radar.

Chelsea will also assess the goalkeeping situation over the coming months, with Edouard Mendy yet to sign a new contract and doubts still hanging over Kepa Arrizabalaga.

With Chelsea also needing to raise cash if they are to keep spending, the pre-contract agreement with Nkunku raises fresh question marks over the long-term futures of Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Armando Broja.