Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Why Jury Is Still out on Kovacic to Join Blues for Real; Madrid Loan Signing Well Aware That Improvements Are Needed

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Why Jury Is Still out on Kovacic to Join Blues for Real; Madrid Loan Signing Well Aware That Improvements Are Needed

Article excerpt

Byline: BATE BORISOV v CHELSEA (Today, 5.55pm, BT Sport 2) Simon Johnson in Minsk

MATEO KOVACIC is already a third of the way through his loan spell at Chelsea and now faces a battle to convince the club to make the move permanent.

There was an air of celebration at Stamford Bridge just before the last transfer window closed, when the Blues managed to secure the Croatia international from Real Madrid on loan. To reassure their fans, Real briefed it was a temporary arrangement that would see the midfielder return in 2019.

However, it is believed that some avenue has been left for Chelsea to negotiate buying the midfielder outright next summer and Kovacic suggested to the BBC in September that he would be open to the idea of staying, saying: "Everything is nice, so I could imagine myself here."

The question is: would Chelsea be willing to do so? One suspects if they had to decide right now, the answer would be no.

A major reason would be the price.

Kovacic has a PS262million release clause in his contract, which still has three years to run. While Real are unlikely to demand such a sum should they decide to cash in, it leaves them in a strong position to ask Chelsea for a fee well in excess of PS50m.

Kovacic, 24, is regarded at the Bernabeu as the heir apparent to Luka Modric, the creative heartbeat of the team. His compatriot is nine years older, meaning the European champions must plan for life without him. At Chelsea, though, the jury is still out. Kovacic is expected to make his 13th Chelsea appearance against BATE Borisov tonight and it is important he delivers, with victory ensuring Maurizio Sarri's team qualify for the last 32 with two games to spare.

Kovacic's frame and running style resemble those of Eden Hazard, but the Belgian is far more decisive in the final third of the pitch. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.