Tottenham are considering launching a move for RB Leipzig centre-back and Chelsea target Josko Gvardiol, according to reports.
Antonio Conte's side are on the verge of qualifying for next season's edition of the Champions League. If Spurs (opens in new tab) beat Norwich (opens in new tab) on Sunday, they will secure a top-four finish in the Premier League and advance to Europe's foremost tournament.
Conte is keen to strengthen his squad this summer so that Tottenham can compete on multiple fronts in his first full season at the helm. The Italian has identified the defence as an area in need of bolstering, particularly as Tottenham have played with three centre-backs since his arrival.
The 20-year-old has enjoyed an impressive season at RB Leipzig (opens in new tab), stepping up following the exits of Ibrahima Konate and Dayot Upamecano. The Croatian appeared in all but five of Leipzig's Bundesliga matches, and is expected to start when they face Freiburg in the DFB-Pokal final this weekend.
Gvardiol has also been linked with a move to Chelsea, who are said to have earmarked him as a potential replacement for Antonio Rudiger. The Germany international will join Real Madrid (opens in new tab) when his contract at Stamford Bridge expires on June 30.
Meanwhile Andreas Christensen is on his way to Barcelona (opens in new tab), while Cesar Azpilicueta could also move to the Camp Nou. Chelsea had been hoping to tie up a deal for Gvardiol, but their transfer business has been delayed by their ongoing takeover issues.
Tottenham could therefore seek to steal a march on their London rivals in the race to sign the Croatia international. Leipzig supposedly value Gvardiol at £40m, with the 20-year-old under contract at the Red Bull Arena until 2026.
It remains to be seen whether Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy would be willing to splash out such a sizable sum for a relatively inexperienced player.
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Antonio Conte has been vocal in recent weeks about the direction that Tottenham need to head in, claiming that Steven Bergwijn needs to believe in himself a little more and stating just how important it is to win the race for the top four.
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Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).
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