Potter tips Chelsea playmaker Mount for the very top
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Chelsea may have decided to play the waiting game as far as their double move for RB Leipzig stars Christopher Nkunku and Josko Gvardiol is concerned. But the duo’s impressive performance against Real Madrid could force the Blues to move quickly to seal both deals before the January transfer window opens amid fears of interest from elsewhere.
In their Champions League tie against Real Madrid on Tuesday, Leipzig needed to win to strengthen their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages. And it was Gvardiol and Nkunku who gave the hosts a vital two-goal lead, with former Blues striker Timo Werner also on target in a 3-2 victory.
Gvardiol, the highly-rated centre-back wanted by Chelsea and Manchester City, reacted quickly after Thibaut Courtois saved from his initial header to bundle the ball over the line and hand Leipzig a crucial advantage.
Then it was Nkunku who finished past Courtois to make it 2-0 before the half-hour mark to make it 11 goals in 17 appearances this season. The Frenchman was a constant threat throughout against the side who reportedly rejected the chance to sign him this summer after missing out on Kylian Mbappe.
If Chelsea scouts were watching on in Leipzig, they would have had glowing reports to give Graham Potter and ambitious owner Todd Boehly. But the pair may have to move quickly to lock down their prospective new signings after their show against Champions League winners Madrid.
It is understood the west London club are close to clinching the double signing of Nkunku and Gvardiol to arrive next summer after negotiating with the German outfit following the closure of the transfer window. According to reports, the club are in ‘advanced talks’ with Leipzig to push through the £130million agreement, which would see Nkunku and Gvardiol become the first signings of the Potter era.
Chelsea already arranged a medical that Nkunku underwent in Frankfurt back in August and have agreed personal terms with Nkunku after offering a six-year deal to the France international, while billionaire owner Boehly failed with a £77m bid for Gvardiol rejected on deadline day.
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But the club’s impending appointment of Christopher Vivell as technical director will no doubt strengthen relations between the two clubs, who have a good relationship after negotiating Werner’s return to Germany in July.
Leipzig are more willing to allow the talented pair to leave next summer for the right price, with Boehly prepared to offer above Nkunku’s £60m release clause.
While there is nothing to suggest Chelsea are in danger of letting both player slip from their grasp, the club won’t need to be reminded of how quickly that can happen after missing out on Raphinha and Jules Kounde to Barcelona this summer, despite agreeing a fee with Leeds United and Sevilla respectively.
And their performances against Carlo Ancelotti’s side will only convince Boehly that it would be better to lock down both transfers before the World Cup and perhaps even winter transfer window opens on January 1 to avoid a repeat.
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