Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has revealed he hopes to sign Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid on a permanent basis this summer.
The Croatian moved to Stamford Bridge from the Santiago Bernabeu on a season-long loan deal last year and he has since established himself as a key performer in Sarri’s current squad.
The 24-year-old has racked up over 40 appearances for the Blues across all competitions this term, despite facing fierce competition from the likes of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley in the middle of the park.
Ahead of Chelsea’s vital next Premier League clash at home to West Ham on Monday night, Sarri has insisted he is keen on tying up a permanent deal for Kovacic, who he believes can become a top player in the near future.
The Blues were hit with a two-window transfer ban after allegedly breaking rules regarding the signing of minors from foreign clubs, but the decision could be overturned, with the club’s final appeal set to reach a FIFA committee on Thursday.
According to Sky Sports, Sarri told a press conference over the weekend: “I want to try with Kovacic.
“He is only on loan, of course, but I’d like very much that Kovacic will stay with us. You know very well that, in that position, we have some problems because we have only Jorginho.
“In my opinion, Kovacic could become a very good central midfielder.”
Sarri’s first year at Stamford Bridge has been a turbulent one, to say the least, but his Chelsea side are still in the hunt for a top-four Premier League finish and a Europa League triumph come May.
The continued presence of Kovacic will be vital to their chances of achieving those goals but beyond that, everything hinges on the final decision from FIFA on April 11.
If Chelsea are unable to sign any new players until 2020, not only will they lose Kovacic, but there is a real risk of a mass exodus at the club, which could seriously hamper their chances of success next season.
However, if Kovacic is able to stay, his signing could be the catalyst for several more changes, as Sarri aims to restore Chelsea to Europe’s top table while also challenging for the Premier League title.