Leeds United have missed out on the signing of Dinamo Zagreb defender Josko Gvardiol, a report from Croatian outlet Tportal has revealed.
It is thought that the decision to reject the move to Elland Road has been made by the player himself, with the 18-year-old apparently preferring to remain in Croatia.
Gvardiol had seemingly emerged as a key target for Leeds this summer, as the club look to provide central defensive cover for club captain Liam Cooper and new signing Robin Koch.
However, it now appears that Gvardiol will not be coming to Yorkshire this summer, with the latest reports claiming that the defender has rejected a move to the Championship title winners.
It is thought that Gvardiol has instead chosen to stay in his native Croatia with Zagreb for the time being, meaning that Leeds are said to have “failed” in their attempts to sign the defender.
That is despite the fact that Leeds were apparently supposed to have signed the defender, having seemingly agreed a deal with Zagreb for the transfer of Gvardiol.
The Whites were reportedly set to pay the Croatian champions 22million euros for Gvardiol as well as 20% of the player’s next sale.
Zagreb themselves were said to have been happy with that business, as they are now facing a 15million euro hole in their finances after missing out on qualification for the Champions League group stages earlier this week.
As a result, it remains to be seen exactly what Gvardiol’s future might hold, although it seems the player’s personal preference does not involve a move to Leeds.
Given there does seem to be something of a need for some central defensive cover for this season in the Premier League, this will understandably be something of a source of frustration for the Whites.
It would have been a boot for Leeds to get that extra option in the shape of Gvardiol, given they clearly seemed keen on the centre back.
That being said, this would have been a reasonably expensive deal for Leeds, meaning that given it would have been a risk from both a football and financial perspective, considering Gvardiol’s lack of experience.
As a result, missing out on Gvardiol may not be the worst thing for Leeds, particularly considering it appears as though he did not necessarily want the move to Elland Road, and as such there is no guarantee that he would have performed for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
Even so, that does not take away from the fact that Leeds are seemingly still at least one centre back short should injuries and suspensions start to take their toll this season – as they often do – and consequentially, you feel this is still a position Bielsa and co. need to be working to strengthen on in what remains of this transfer window.