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Manchester City target Josko Gvardiol reveals bizarre Premier League club he almost joined

The centre-back nearly made the move in 2019

Josko Gvardiol has revealed that he almost joined Leeds United before he made the switch to RB Leipzig, with the Croatian now on the radar of top clubs across Europe.

One of the stars of the Qatar World Cup, Gvardiol is expected to remain in Germany despite interest from England this summer, with the Croatian penning a new contract last summer that included a £97m release clause that will become active in 2024.

‘Josko Gvardiol will be an RB Leipzig player next season as well,’ said Leipzig head coach Marco Rose in February. ‘I am the coach and I am asking for that. He said he wants to play in the Premier League, but he didn’t say when.’

The defender has attracted the attention of Chelsea (who made a bid last summer) as well as Liverpool and Manchester City, while Real Madrid are leading the charge from Europe, though whether they will be able to afford the hefty fee is unclear.

However, the defender very nearly ended up at Elland Road with Leeds United in 2019 when leaving Dinamo Zagreb, with the Yorkshire side ready to stump up 17m for his services.

According to the Daily Mail, ‘Leeds United called Gvardiol every day’, while ‘Marcelo Bielsa telephoned personally to present Leeds’ case’.

‘I was like ‘’wow, they’ve really nailed this. I’m moving to Leeds.’’’ Gvardiol said. ‘But then, I’ve had the same feeling after meeting at Leipzig. You suddenly become more realistic once you get the offer in front of you.

‘I reminded myself I’m only 18 and I’m not really sure how would I fit at Leeds, especially with all that packed schedule. I’d probably got massacred there at this phase. I decided Germany is the better option for my long-term development.’

Now worth over five times as much as Leeds nearly snagged him for, Gvardiol appears destined to lead a defensive line at the top of the Premier League in the coming seasons.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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