Chelsea Transfer News: Blues Eye Mateo Kovacic Amid Aaron Ramsey Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 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

Chelsea have reportedly made an enquiry to Real Madrid over the availability of midfielder Mateo Kovacic.

According to Simon Jones and Jordan Seward of the MailOnline, the Blues have asked about Kovacic as new manager Maurizio Sarri is keen to improve his options in the middle of the park. 

Chelsea are considering Kovacic as a different option to Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who they are said to hold an interest in. The Blues may reportedly wait before moving for the Welshman, though, with his contract set to expire at the Emirates Stadium next summer. 

"Sarri is already scanning the market for alternatives, and Kovacic is a player he likes, having watched him closely during his days in Italy with Inter Milan," continued the report. "The Croatian international has also attracted interest from Manchester City, who are considering stepping up their pursuit of him after missing out on targets Fred and Jorginho." 

Still, Real are not willing to let Kovacic leave the club this summer. According to Sergio Santos Chozas of AS, the Croatia international is keen to move on, although Los Blancos consider him too important to let go.

M.A.J joked about how talented the former Inter Milan man is:

M•A•J¹³ @Ultra_Suristic

No club in their right mind should be interested in Kovacic. Doesn't know how to pass. Can't keep a ball for more than 1 second. Confirmed eyesight problem. Averages 50 injuries in a season. Contagious sneezing issues. Should just stay at Real Madrid in my humble opinion.

The issue for Kovacic at Madrid is he has three of the world's best central midfielders ahead of him in the pecking order.

Compatriot Luka Modric knits the team's play together majestically, Toni Kroos dictates the tempo of matches and Casemiro is a destroyer supreme in front of the back four. The trio have been crucial to Madrid's run of three successive UEFA Champions League wins in the last three campaigns.

Kovacic has a lot of competition for places at Madrid.
Kovacic has a lot of competition for places at Madrid.ODD ANDERSEN/Getty Images

If any of those players is unavailable, Kovacic has tended to step in, as he's versatile and intelligent enough to replace any of the trio. However, at 24, it's understandable the midfielder wants to be a key man.

There's little doubt he's good enough to do so. As noted below, Kovacic shone for Croatia on the biggest stage during the summer:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Mateo Kovacic has attempted 88 passes in 102 minutes at the 2018 World Cup, misplacing just two of them. 97.73% pass accuracy as it stands. https://t.co/xzsR0rYHgy

Chelsea's midfield is looking in fine shape ahead of the campaign, with the acquisition of Jorginho a key one for Sarri's style. N'Golo Kante will also head into the season after a stellar World Cup with France.

At Napoli, Sarri typically lined up with a three-man midfield, with Marek Hamsik providing a box-to-box presence. Martin Laurence of WhoScored thinks Ramsey would be ideal for that role:

Martin Laurence @martinlaurence7

Ramsey could be Chelsea's Hamsik. That could work quite nicely

It's also a job Kovacic would be astute at doing. While he can dictate from deep, the Croatian has always appeared most comfortable when playing in a more advanced position, where can make use of both his passing range and his ability to dribble past opponents.

If the Blues can convince Madrid to let Kovacic move on, then he'd be an excellent signing and would help Chelsea forge one of the most impressive midfield setups in the division.