Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic has reportedly decided not to train with the team until he has clarity over his future.
According to Juan Ignacio Garcia-Ochoa of Marca, the Croatian midfielder is unhappy at Madrid's reluctance to let him leave, having previously made it known this summer that he wants a new challenge.
"The player has spoken to the Spanish giants several times and even met with coach Julen Lopetegui to discuss his exit, but nothing has changed," said Garcia-Ochoa. "Madrid have declared him non-transferable and for now, they have not given him the slightest hope for a way out. Therefore, the tension between player and club continues."
Despite Madrid's determination to keep hold of Kovacic, in the report it's said that the playmaker is ready to do "anything possible" to achieve a move.
Per Garcia-Ochoa, Kovacic has previously told Marca that he wants to move away from Los Blancos having become frustrated at his lack of game time. The former Inter man was behind the imperious trio of Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos under former manager Zinedine Zidane.
The issue for Madrid is that Modric has been strongly linked with a move to Inter Milan lately. Lucas Navarrete summed up the issue the team has in this portion of the pitch at the moment:
While a move to Real would've been a dream come true for Kovacic in 2015, the decision has panned out as many anticipated.
There are so many high-class options in this portion of the pitch at the Santiago Bernabeu. In addition to the trio noted, during his time at Madrid, the Croatian has also had to fight with the likes of Asier Illarramendi, James Rodriguez and Isco for spots in the side.
To Kovacic's credit, last season he elevated his status to the fourth-choice man in the midfield three for Los Blancos, showcasing versatility and intelligence to fulfil a number of different roles for Zidane. He was adept sitting and dictating from deep, although arguably at his best when given license to push forward.
As these figures illustrate, the Madrid man uses the ball so efficiently:
In addition to being on the fringes for Los Blancos, as noted by EIF during the FIFA World Cup, he's also on the fringes for Croatia, with Modric and Ivan Rakitic ahead of him in the pecking order:
Since it became apparent Kovacic wanted to move on there have been a number of high-profile clubs linked to him. Per La Repubblica (h/t Jack Rathborn of the Daily Mirror), AC Milan are said to be interested in signing the Croatian; Rathborn adds that Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City have also been tracking the player.
For Kovacic it's a crucial summer, as he will be desperate to get regular football and make strides towards becoming one of the best playmakers in European football. If a side prise him away from Madrid before the window shuts, they'll be delighted.