After lodging an £18 m offer for the center-back, Leeds United was tipped to conclude a deal for Dinamo Zagreb younger Joško Gvardiol shortly.
Just last season did Gvardiol make his senior debut for Dinamo, breaking through towards the end of the campaign and finishing the year with 13 appearances in all competitions.
Dinamo aims to keep the 18-year-old around and use him in their squad during their qualification games in the Champions League this summer, with Gvardiol playing 66 minutes in a recent victory over the Romanian side of Cluj. Marcelo Bielsa had a close eye on that match, and was impressed with the defender, according to 24sata.
Bielsa is believed to have offered an £18 m offer for Gvardiol, and Sportske Novosti claims that it might be enough to get the deal done as Dinamo is hardly in a financial position to refuse such a high sum, despite their willingness to keep up with teens.
There is also competition from RB Leipzig, who are said to have submitted their bid worth a total of £18 m, and the German side will be willing to let Gvardiol spend at least one more season in Croatia before returning to the Bundesliga-something that both Dinamo and Gvardiol want.
However, a large part of Leipzig’s offer is in incentives and add-ons, which means that Leed’s cash-upfront offer could be more appealing. It is implied that Dinamo’s desire to cash in is greater than their desire to retain Gvardiol, and Guardiola is expected to join Leeds or Leipzig shortly, probably after the next qualifying game against Ferencváros on September 16.
It’s Bielsa’s bold move to spend so much money in an unproven teenager, particularly when that fee could be spent on a veteran who could assist them back in the Premier League in their first season.
Leeds has already invested £13 m on Freiburg defender Robin Koch, who is supposed to fit in at the heart of Bielsa’s defense alongside captain Liam Cooper, so there might not even be a regular spot in Guardiola’s starting line-up.