Chelsea will be forced to rebuild their backline this summer — and Josko Gvardiol could be part of the club's rearguard revolution.
Assuming Todd Boehly's consortium complete their purchase of the West London outfit, there is likely to be a flurry of activity at Stamford Bridge when the transfer window opens for business.
RB Leipzig star Gvardiol, 20, is a name already in the frame as the Blues eye defensive reinforcements.
Ahead of tonight's Premier League showdown with Leeds, we take a look at what the defender would add to Thomas Tuchel's squad.
The state of play
With Antonio Rudiger set to move to Real Madrid when his contract expires, Chelsea will need defensive recruits before the new campaign.
The German colossus has been a regular since Tuchel's arrival at the Bridge in January 2020 — and he was instrumental in the club's successful Champions League campaign last season.
Andreas Christensen also appears destined to depart on a free transfer, making defenders Tuchel's priority when it comes to squad strengthening.
And Chelsea have reportedly earmarked Gvardiol as a potential target following the Croatian's superb debut season in the Bundesliga.
Blues fans have become accustomed to Rudiger's ventures into the opposition half and they can expect more of the same if Gvardiol moves to the capital.
The 10-cap international is averaging 1.64 carries into the final third per 90 minutes as he sets about kick-starting Leipzig attacks with his marauding runs.
Gvardiol also has a total progressive carrying distance of 4,445 metres in the Bundesliga this season, which is the joint-sixth furthest of any player in Germany's top flight.
As Chelsea's centre-backs often roam into offensive positions, his knack for joining attacks will be perfectly suited to Tuchel's system.
A distinguished defender
Gvardiol has been one of the standout defenders across Europe this term, earning plaudits for his terrific displays in both the Bundesliga and the Europa League.
The former Dinamo Zagreb man has appeared 29 times in the league, filling the boots of departed duo Ibrahima Konate and Dayot Upamecano with distinction.
He has made a commendable 1.9 interceptions per 90 in that period, while also winning possession an impressive 4.21 times in the defensive third on average.
At 6ft 1in, the Zagreb native is a commanding figure at the back and has averaged 1.98 aerial duels won per 90 this season.
Gvardiol is physically dominant at the heart of the Red Bulls' defence and that would serve him well when adapting to the intensity of the Premier League.
Gvardiol has established himself as one of the best passers in the Bundesliga.
The left-footed ace has completed 9.03 passes into the final third per 90 this season — the third-most among centre-backs in Germany.
It is also worth noting that no player in his position has completed more through-balls into the final third.
Tuchel likes his back-three to play instinctive passes through the lines in order to launch attacks. That is something Leipzig's No32 will have no issues with.
An uncertain future
It is believed Leipzig value Gvardiol at around £50million — and Chelsea could be sucked into a bidding war if they are to acquire his services.
Tottenham and Newcastle have both previously been linked with moves and may well revive their interest in the summer.
But he still has over four years left on his current deal and has remained coy over a potential move away from the Red Bull Arena.
He said: "I really enjoy every day with this great team, at this first-class club.
"I don't think about anything else. And if you ask me if I'll play here next year — yes, of course."
Gvardiol has emerged as one of the most promising defenders on the continent — securing his signature would be a significant coup for Tuchel's Blues.