RB Leipzig have splashed out a reported €19million on Dinamo Zagreb defender Josko Gvardiol, perhaps preparing them for life without Dayot Upamecano.
Gvardiol, 18, was heavily linked with Leeds United and Lille but has signed a five-year contract with Leipzig, who he will not join up with until July 2021.
The Croatia Under-21 international has been touted as a replacement for reported Manchester United target Upamecano.
However, with Gvardiol remaining at Dinamo for the rest of 2020-21, it remains to be seen if Leipzig will part with Upamecano before the transfer window shuts on October 5.
“I am very happy to be able to take the step to RB Leipzig,” Gvardiol said in a statement. “It is one of the top clubs in the Bundesliga and has a clear style of play.
“It was important for me to join a club that could enable me to take the next steps as a professional footballer and as a young player. That is exactly what RB Leipzig embodies.
“The club has proven time and again how well you can develop and improve here. I’m very grateful to Dinamo Zagreb for making this jump possible.
“Until my move to Leipzig, I will do everything I can to achieve the utmost success with Dinamo.”
The 18-year-old will join the club on 1st July 2021, remaining at @gnkdinamo for the current season
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) September 28, 2020
Leipzig sporting director Markus Krosche said: “With Joski Gvardiol we were able to sign of the greatest European defensive talents. As a left-footer, we will have even more variety with him in the squad.
“At the age of 18 he is of course still a young player, but his overall development – both physically and personally – is already very mature.
“Josko will be able to gain more experience and match practice in professional football in Zagreb over the next few months before he joins in 2021.
“We will then continuously build up and further develop Josko according to our philosophy.”
Gvardiol, a former team-mate of Leipzig midfielder Dani Olmo at Dinamo, earned his senior debut in October 2019 and has made 16 appearances in all competitions for the Croatian champions.