Leeds United have seen their serious interest in Dinamo Zagreb starlet Josko Gvardiol end with the player opting to move to Champions League semi-finalists RB Leipzig.
Marcelo Bielsa has already added one first-team defender to his side when he replaced the departed Ben White with German international and Freiburg defender Robin Koch.
After bringing both him and Rodrigo Moreno into the club, Bielsa has been keen to add a touch more depth to his squad for the testing Premier League challenge that lies ahead.
There haven’t been too many names that have cropped up in that area of the pitch for Leeds and their one key interest seems to have fizzled away.
The Whites registered their ‘serious interest’ in Dinamo Zagreb’s teenage talent Josko Gvardiol, and even offered a significant sum to tempt him into moving to West Yorkshire.
The deal appeared to be moving along very swimmingly in the early stages, with Leeds confident of striking a deal with the Croatian club, but circling in the background were recent Champions League dark horses RB Leipzig.
At first, the German side tabled an offer considerably lower than Leeds’ and the ball was still in Leeds’ court to tie up a deal but as our interest began to take a back seat, Leipzig have seemingly stepped up their pursuit to the point where they have reached an agreement.
Sportska Novosti has reported that Gvardiol has chosen to sign for Leipzig over a move to Elland Road as he believes it would be a better move for his career, with Fabrizio Romano confirming the news.
You can’t really be surprised that Leeds have missed out to a side that was 90 minutes away from a Champions League final last season, especially a team that has had incredible fortunes in developing young players recently.
Gvardiol will be looking at the development of Dayot Upamecano, Nordi Mukiele and Ibrahima Konate and know that he’s signing for a club where he can continue to grow, even if he would have done so under Marcelo Bielsa.
It’s a shame for us not to tie down such a brilliant talent, but that calibre of player was never going to be easy to sign, and maybe Pascal Struijk could be the answer to the depth concerns.
There might be a few backup options on the shortlist for Bielsa and Victor Orta, but I personally wouldn’t be too upset if we went into the rest of the season placing our trust in Struijk.