According to Spanish outlet Cope (see the Tweet at the bottom of this article), Chelsea will not have the option to purchase Mateo Kovacic on a permanent basis from Real Madrid next summer.
Since his move to the Bernabeu from Inter Milan in the summer of 2015, Croatian international Kovacic has endured an up-and-down spell with Los Blancos, finding himself confined to the bench for much of his stint in the Spanish capital.
However, following just 8 La Liga starts during his debut campaign with the club, the 24-year-old went on to solidify himself as an important member of Zinedine Zidane’s squad during the 2016/17 campaign, starting 19 league outings for the eventual Spanish champions.
A number of increasingly impressive displays were backed up by a sensational pre-season for Kovacic, with the classy midfielder having started and starred in Real’s ‘friendly’ victory over fierce rivals Barcelona in Miami, as well as both of their Spanish Super Cup wins over the Blaugrana.
‘Not for sale’
However, with Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro already to contend with at the Bernabeu, and Real having beaten a host of top clubs to the signing of Spanish midfield prodigy Dani Ceballos last summer, several European giants were subsequently linked with moves for Kovacic.
In the end, the gifted Croat stayed put, though, with Real director Jose Angel Sanchez having had the following to say regarding Kovacic’s future in the Spanish capital:
‘Kovacic is not for sale, we will never sell him.’
‘He is one of the players the club’s future relies on.’
‘Time for me to play’
But, after the Dinamo Zagreb youth product managed just 10 La Liga starts this past season, rumours have once again been rife in the media that Kovacic could be on the move before the close of the transfer window.
Speaking in an interview with FourFourTwo in June, the 46-time capped international admitted that the possibility of seeking pastures new this summer in search of more regular playing time was an option which he was taking into serious consideration:
‘I believe I’ll play more, whether in Real or somewhere else.’
‘Now is the time for me to play.’
‘Offers? I am under contract with Real and I wish not to comment on other clubs.’
‘Best if I go to another club’
And, during yet another interview regarding his future with Spanish outlet Marca a short time later, Kovacic confirmed once and for all his intention to depart the Bernabeu this summer:
‘I also know that it’s difficult to play as a starter at Madrid, especially because I was very young when I came here.’
‘I understand the situation, and that’s why I think it’s best if I go to another club, where I have the opportunity to play regularly as a starter.’
It’s an opportunity I think I can get and one I want right now. Every player is important at Real Madrid.’
‘However, the problem is that for a young player, it’s difficult to have continuity, and without that continuity I’ll never be able to show my full potential.’
Stamford Bridge bound
Kovacic’s reported stand has since seen the speculation surrounding his future move up a notch, with a whole rake of outlets in Spain earlier today having confirmed that the midfielder is on the verge of a loan move to Chelsea.
The agreement is thought to be linked to the deal which looks set to see Thibaut Courtois finally secure his move to the Bernabeu, with it having been expected that Chelsea would have the option to make Kovacic’s move to London permanent next summer.
However, as per the aforementioned update from Cope’s Arancha Rodriguez, the Blues will in fact not be given the option to clinch a permanent deal for Kovacic, amid claims that his arrival at Stamford Bridge will be on a dry one-year loan:
Un año sin opción de compra.
— Arancha Rodríguez (@AranchaMOBILE) August 7, 2018