Chelsea have decided to turn Mateo Kovacic’s loan into a permanent deal and have reportedly agreed a £45million transfer fee with Real Madrid.
Although the west London side face a two-window transfer ban, they are able to sign both Kovacic and Gonzalo Higuain permanently as both players are currently registered with the club until their loans officially expire.
While Chelsea are not expected to keep Higuain, Gianluca Di Marzio reports that they have decided to retain Kovacic’s services despite Real’s big asking price.
Chelsea did not negotiate an option to buy Kovacic outright when signing him on loan last season, so have been somewhat held to ransom by Real with the Spanish side settling for £45m including bonuses.
The Croatian is the only signing new manager Frank Lampard will be allowed to make and he is believed to have been consulted on whether he wanted to bring in the midfielder.
Chelsea are still finalising terms with Kovacic, though it is not expected to be a problem, and the deal needs to be completed by this Saturday, when his loan expires. The Blues are only eligible to sign Kovacic while he is still registered with the club, so they face a race to get his signature over the line before June 30.
Sarri was a big fan of Kovacic and played him 51 times in all competitions (Picture: Getty) The 25-year-old was brought in by Maurizio Sarri last summer and made 32 appearances in the Premier League, becoming a mainstay of the midfield.
He also made 12 appearances in the club’s successful run to the Europa League final, though did not manage to net for the Blues, and struggled to win over fans – with many preferring Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
But the long-term injury suffered by Loftus-Cheek at the end of the season – who ruptured his Achilles and is expected to miss most of the 2019/20 campaign – rather forced Chelsea’s hand and they have opted to keep Kovacic at Stamford Bridge.