For much of the summer, it appeared that Leeds United were focusing a lot of their energy on trying to sign 18-year-old defender Josko Gvardiol.
The Daily Mail reported in late August that the Whites were in talks to sign Gvardiol. Meanwhile, he did little to quieten speculation by making Marcelo Bielsa’s side one of the few football clubs he followed on Instagram.
Ultimately, it appeared that Leeds were in the driving seat to land the teenager. Croatian outlet 24Sata claimed that the Premier League newbies had made the largest offer for Gvardiol. They had apparently put £20.1 million on the table and committed to a 20 percent sell-on clause.
However, that same report noted that he was ready to snub Leeds. Instead, the youngster signed a five-year deal with RB Leipzig.
Part of the deal saw Gvardiol remain with Dinamo Zagreb on loan for this season.
Had Leeds signed Gvardiol, it seems likely that they may have needed to agree a similar loan deal. So he may not have been available to Bielsa just yet had he moved to Elland Road anyway.
Nevertheless, his form following the completion of his move to Leipzig still suggests that Leeds may be left to kick themselves in the future.
Gvardiol has made seven appearances in all competitions since his move was announced. And in Dinamo’s last five games in which he has played, they have not conceded a single goal.
Gvardiol has started four of those games. In the other, he came on after just 29 minutes.
He has also started all of their Europa League group games at left-back. Given Bielsa’s appreciation for versatile players, that may only add to the frustration.
Leeds will not be surprised to see Gvardiol shining. It was a huge statement that they were reportedly willing to pay over £20 million for a teenager.
But it is perhaps ominous that the early signs already highlight what a coup it was for Leipzig to land him ahead of the Whites in the summer.
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