Josko Gvardiol RB Leipzig 2021Getty Images

Leipzig's Gvardiol on Chelsea's transfer shortlist to replace Rudiger and Christensen

Chelsea have earmarked RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol to replace the outgoing Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen. 

The 20-year-old defender is seen as a good option to play on the left side of a back three and is being considered for a summer move despite his age. 

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Of course, he isn't the only target and the Blues are currently unable to properly plan for the summer until the club's new owners take over from Roman Abramovich as talks remain ongoing. 

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Who will replace Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen at Chelsea?

The Blues have also identified Sevilla's Jules Kounde, Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe and Atletico Madrid's Jose Giminez as potential signings.

In all three cases, the Blues have explored options to sign them in the past, with Chelsea having pushed right up to last summer's deadline day to try to sign Kounde. 

Even in Gvardiol's case, the Blues have been scouting him ever since he broke through with the Croatian giants Dinamo. 

They sent scouts to watch him personally on at least two occasions and have continued to monitor him from afar with their video and data-driven scouting systems. 

It is thought Thomas Tuchel could sign two defenders to replace both his outgoing ones with Rudiger having agreed a deal with Real Madrid and Christensen thought to have already done so with Barcelona. 

There remains the presence of exciting defenders in the loan group with Huddersfield's Levi Colwill, Venezia's Ethan Ampadu and Blackpool's Dujon Sterling as alternative options to be recalled to bolster the squad. 

There are also midfield targets like West Ham's Declan Rice and Monaco's Aurelien Tchoameni on Chelsea's radar but there's fierce competition for both players and the Blues would have to successfully sell one of their senior midfielders to make it happen. 

Crystal Palace midfielder Conor Gallagher is the one loanee who is almost certain to return in the summer. 

When can Chelsea sign players?

Most clubs have begun their transfer market activity despite the various leagues finishing off their final few fixtures. 

However, due to sanctions placed on the club after Roman Abramovich was deemed to have a relationship with Vladimir Putin by the UK Government, they are unable to plan for the future. 

Aside from scouting and drawing up shortlists, the Blues can't do much and are keeping the majority of their activity in-house. 

It is hoped that the sale of the club to Todd Boehly's consortium is completed soo.

The Government is urging the board and Raine Group to hurry the process along before the licence expires on 31 May 2022. 

After that, they would have to draw up a new operating license and many within the club think that extending restrictions beyond that day would become damaging for the future.

There's currently plenty of hope, however, that the sale will be concluded before the transfer window opens on 10 June. 

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