Manchester City to Reportedly Move for Mateo Kovacic Amid Jorginho Fears

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 01: Mateo Kovacic of Real Madrid in action during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Second Leg match between Real Madrid and Bayern Muenchen at the Bernabeu on May 1, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Manchester City are reportedly ready to move for Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic, as they consider alternative options to Napoli playmaker Jorginho. 

According to Adrian Kajumba of the Daily Mirror, the Premier League champions face serious competition for Jorginho in the form of Chelsea.

"City agreed terms with Brazil-born Italy international Jorginho weeks ago but are still haggling over his fee with Napoli. And this stalemate has left the door open to their move for the 26-year-old being hijacked," wrote Kajumba. "Chelsea are trying to appoint his former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri and have been credited with interest in also bringing Jorginho to Stamford Bridge."

That's prompted manager Pep Guardiola to considering other options to strengthen his midfield, with Kovacic said to be on his shortlist.

Jorginho has been linked with a move to City and Chelsea.
Jorginho has been linked with a move to City and Chelsea.Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Recently the Croatia international has spoken about possibly leaving the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, insisting he needs to get more minutes on the field.

"I know that it's difficult to be a starter at Real Madrid, especially when I arrived at a really young age," he said, per  Juan Ignacio Garcia Ochoa of Marca. "I understand the situation, but because of that I believe the best thing for me would be to go to another club where I'd have the opportunity to play regularly as a starter."

As noted below by the New York Times' Rory Smith, Kovacic is also on the fringes of the team for the national side:

Rory Smith @RorySmith

I understand why Mateo Kovacic doesn't start for Croatia, but equally I do not understand *why* Mateo Kovacic doesn't start for Croatia.

With Yaya Toure leaving the Etihad at the end of last season, City are short of players at the base of midfield. The man who did the job so well last season, Fernandinho, is 33, and Guardiola would surely be keen to add a dynamic alternative.

Jorginho performed that job expertly for Napoli last term. However, according to Sam Lee of Goal, the Premier League winners may not be going down this route anymore:

Sam Lee @Sammy_Goal

That approach is City’s decision to only sign players who really want to play for them. With Fred, United offered more money, he was happy with that offer, City wouldn’t match it. Similar to Alexis really. Now, if Chelsea are in for Jorginho, he’ll have to say it’s City or bust.

Kovacic would represent an interesting alternative. Although he has played as the deepest midfielder occasionally, it's not his natural position, with the 24-year-old capable of influencing the play higher up the pitch.

Still, the deal may be a little more straightforward to complete, as Kovacic has already hinted he would like to move on this summer. With Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro at the Santiago Bernabeu already, chances are at a premium for him in midfield.

As these figures illustrate, Kovacic uses the ball to great effect:

Match of the Day @BBCMOTD

Another great night for Croatia... And almost the perfect night for Mateo Kovacic! Passes: 79 Passes completed: 78 Nooooooooo! #WorldCup #CRO #bbcworldcup https://t.co/cZ5Bg3sEFF

He would benefit from a transfer at this point, as the midfielder is a talent. With a defined role in the side and more minutes, he'd potentially flourish elsewhere.

At City he would have to jostle with Fernandinho for a spot in the side and make tweaks to his game to become more suited to playing as the midfielder closest to the defence. Still, his technique, intelligence and determination to succeed would surely see Kovacic thrive under Guardiola.