CHELSEA have reignited their interest in RB Leipzig star Josko Gvardiol but could have to pay a massive release clause, according to reports.
The Blues tried to sign the defender last summer but Leipzig blocked a move.
The two clubs reportedly held talks over a £70million fee but Chelsea felt that asking price was too high.
However they could now face paying more after Gvardiol, 21, signed a contract extension until 2027 in December.
A release clause worth £97m will come into effect in 2024 so Chelsea will have to act in the summer if they want him for less, report The Times.
But with Leipzig boss Marco Rose issuing a hands-off warning it is possible the Bundesliga side will be stubborn in negotiations.
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One positive for Chelsea is Gvardiol's desire to play in the Premier League, and he revealed he "struggled" with Leipzig's decision not to let him move to Stamford Bridge last summer.
Tottenham and Manchester City are also believed to be interested in Gvardiol though the Blues are leading the race to sign him.
Real Madrid have reportedly made Gvardiol a top target to replace the ageing Nacho Fernandez.
But Gvardiol revealed he wants to follow team-mate Christopher Nkunku wherever he moves to – with the Frenchman set to join Chelsea in the summer.
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He said: "I have never seen before a player like Christoph, he is unbelievable."
"Every time I talk with someone about him I always say wherever he goes I want to go with him."
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