According to Marca, Mateo Kovacic is set to join Chelsea on a loan deal this summer.

What’s the Word?

Kovacic is coming off of the back of a fine summer, having played a part in Croatia’s shock run to the World Cup final in Russia. However, the 24-year-old’s international exploits appear to have put him in no greater contention for a starring role with Real Madrid.

The likes of Luka Modric, Isco and Toni Kroos remain ahead of the midfielder in the pecking order at the Bernabeu.

At this stage of his career, Kovacic – who Transfermarkt value at £27million – really needs to be playing regular football. A loan deal ought to allow him to do so, without forcing him to give up on his Real Madrid dream.

Chelsea, for their part, have to strengthen further in the centre of the park this summer. The recruitment of Kovacic, albeit on a temporary basis, would go a long way towards getting the standard of the midfield contingent at Stamford Bridge to where it needs to be ahead of the new campaign.

Chelsea's Jorginho challenges Man City's Phil Foden for the ball at the Community Shield

The final piece of Chelsea’s midfield jigsaw?

Chelsea’s Community Shield defeat to Manchester City should give Maurizio Sarri cause for concern -especially as the Blues looked so far short of Pep Guardiola’s outfit on a physical level, as well as technically.

A big part of the problem was how easily the Chelsea midfield surrendered control to the men in sky blue. 

Obviously, N’Golo Kante’s absence is a big miss, and it will of course take time for Jorginho to get to grips with the English game. The lack of protection the defence were afforded by the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Ross Barkley and Danny Drinkwater was troubling though.

Chelsea’s midfielders were not able to establish possession or create any sustained pressure and looked devoid of invention – all whilst showing themselves to be soft defensively. 

The arrival of Kovacic would help restore balance to the centre of the park. He has the youth to replace the tired legs of Fabregas, and far greater technical ability than either Barkley or Drinkwater can boast. The Croatian would be a much better fit alongside the talents of Kante and Jorginho and would serve to make the trio more cohesive as a whole.

Sarri’s preferred style relies heavily on a well-functioning three-man midfield, able to be effective in both attacking and defensive phases of play. As it stands, a player in the mould of Kovacic is the missing link.

Bringing in the Madrid man on loan this summer could be vital to the overall success of Sarri’s reign.



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Will Jones