Chelsea have not given up on their pursuit of RB Leipzig centre-back Josko Gvardiol, whom they likely regret not signing for whatever the price last summer, according to The Athletic’s Simon Johnson.

The 21-year-old was among Chelsea’s top targets last summer but they could not reach an agreement with Leipzig.

Many, including Gvardiol himself, expected Chelsea to return for him in the January transfer window.

However, instead of restarting talks with Leipzig, Chelsea instead brought in another young defender, Benoit Badiashile, from AS Monaco.

This has proved to be one of, if not the best deal Chelsea made in January.

Not only that they secured a relatively cheap deal at a reported £35million for the French centre-back, but he has also performed consistently well since his arrival.

Johnson, however, claims that this has not stopped Chelsea from continuing their chase for Gvardiol.

Manchester City v RB Leipzig: Round of 16 Second Leg - UEFA Champions League
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“Chelsea’s interest may come as a surprise — that they’re still thinking about him — because they’ve got so many players back there,” the journalist told The Athletic Football Podcast when speaking about the Croatia international.

“But they’re going to think about selling some players this summer and you cannot ignore a player of this quality, a guy they came very close to signing last summer.

“They put it on hold, looked at it again in January… perhaps they’re sort of feeling some sense of regret that they didn’t get the deal done last summer before the World Cup where Gvardiol absolutely shone.

“Nothing will surprise me anymore with these new owners.

“You can label many things at them but a lack of ambition or a lack of intent in the transfer market is not one of them.”

Chelsea ‘regretting’ their decision to step away

Johnson also highlighted that despite the good relationship between Chelsea and Leipzig, the former actually got “a bit frustrated: after the German club “moved the goalposts in the negotiations for the centre-back.

“Perhaps they’re regretting that they didn’t just go ahead and get the deal done because he’s worth more than what Leipzig were asking at the time,” Johnson added.

Kalidou Koulibaly has been linked with a potential summer Chelsea exit, so Gvardiol could be considered as a potential replacement.

That said, Chelsea also still have another talented left-sided centre-back in Levi Colwill, who is currently on loan at Brighton and is certainly looking forward to a first-team promotion.

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