Chelsea have renewed their interest in RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol but must act fast if they want to avoid paying his £97million release clause.

Todd Boehly has invested heavily in improving Chelsea’s defence having bankrolled the signings of Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana and Badiashile.

Thiago Silva, meanwhile, has signed a one-year deal extension but, according to The Times, the Blues are still keen to add Gavardiol to their team.

Chelsea are likely to face huge competition from Liverpool and Man City, but will want to conclude any deal this summer before Gvardiol’s release clause comes into effect in 2024.

The 21-year-old enhanced his reputation at the World Cup in Qatar where Croatia finished third and would’ve caught Guardiola’s eye during last week’s Champions League last 16 first leg clash when he scored his team’s equalising goal in a 1-1 draw.

Chelsea held discussions with Leipzig last summer but walked away from a £70m deal to focus on signing Fofana instead but are ready to restart negotiations with a player who is keen on a move to the Premier League.

Gvardiol said recently: ‘You definitely think about a serious offer from a huge club like Chelsea.

‘In the end I really struggled with that decision but we didn’t make an agreement. I am here and I am fine with this because my idea had been to stay here. One season was not enough.’

Whether Graham Potter will still be in charge should the defender choose to sign for Chelsea remains a matter of conjecture.

Boehly remains keen to give the former Brighton manager time to turn things around with Chelsea mired in mid-table after a poor run of form which culminated in last week’s defeat at Tottenham.

Speaking after the defeat at Tottenham, Potter said: ‘If results aren’t good enough, which they aren’t at the moment, you can’t rely on support forever, that’s for sure,” he told Sky Sports.

‘My job is to keep going, to keep working with the team and try and change that. The players are hurting. They are giving everything and want the results to get better, I can feel it in the dressing room.”

‘Whenever you hear those results [stats], I hold the responsibility. They are not good enough for this club, not good enough for us. We are not happy with them.’

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