Four-man shortlist emerges as Chelsea push for new center-back signing

Red Bull Leipzig’s Croatian starlet Joško Gvardiol is one of four long-term options at center-back that the Blues are linked to for a possible move in either January or the summer

Chelsea is hopeful that normal service will resume at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday when Graham Potters Blues welcome Bournemouth to the English capital as football returns to the Premier League after the extended international break.

But for Potter and the English giants, form is not on their side as Chelsea was winless in five (0-2-3) before the World Cup pressed the pause button on club football as the club looks to finally make waves under the new regime headlined by co-owner Todd Boehly.

Despite a serious recruitment drive in the summer to the tune of ~£250m, Boehly and the club hierarchy remain adamant about further business either in January or in the summer when it comes to adding long-term options at center-back, with The Athletic’s David Ornstein confirming a four-man shortlist that the west London outfit is eyeing-up.

As expected, the Blues remain keen on RB Leipzig’s Croatian starlet Joško Gvardiol, but previous personal terms that were agreed upon had been left scuppered in the summer due to RBL demanding a fee that was deemed too high, and that reality could be set to remain after the 20-year-old Zagreb native was excellent in Qatar.

Two other options that are currently residing in the Bundesliga are also Bayer Leverkusen’s Ecuadorian international Piero Hincapié and Eintracht Frankfurt’s French center-back Evan Ndicka. Hincapié has rapidly developed at the Bay Arena and was credible in service of his country but there remains some doubt whether or not he is ready for the Premier League. Ndicka, who has shown for Die Adler in the last few seasons, is already commanding serious interest from Arsenal who is interested in a free move when his contract is up in the summer, leaving the Blues free to challenge their Premier League rivals for his signature.

Lastly, AS Monaco youngster Benoît Badiashile is also on the list after the 21-year-old has emerged as the latest young French talent to grow while with the Monegasque club, and given his value is far lower than Gvardiol, Chelsea could focus their efforts here with his price mooted to be ~£30m.

With just Wesley Fofana and Trevoh Chalobah as the only young center-backs on the books and Thiago Silva sure to eventually regress after turning 38, a new center-back is paramount for the long-term picture at Stamford Bridge.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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