A string of Premier League clubs have been linked with a move for out-of-favour Inter whiz kid Mateo Kovacic, but it’s believed Chelsea are heading the chase.
Apparently seven international attacking midfielders isn’t enough for Jose Mourinho, who is willing to pay the £9m it cost the Nerazzurri to bring the 19-year-old Croat in from Dinamo Zagreb, so The Daily Express says.
The player is desperate to abscond given the lack of game time Walter Mazzarri has afforded him, but if it’s minutes on the pitch he’s after then a switch to the 2/1 second-favourites for the Premier League title wouldn’t be the wisest move.
Here are three of the Blues’ domestic rivals who Kovacic would be better off pledging allegiance to:
Since Paris Saint-Germain snapped up string-puller extraordinaire Yohan Cabaye and with hot and cold Hatem Ben Arfa spending the season in the latter guise, the Toon have lacked in creativity.
They’ll be looking to recruit in this department in pre-season and may call on the San Siro side, who were willing to allow former full-back prospect Davide Santon join the Tynesiders in 2011 for a reduced price.
The 4.4 dribbles and almost two key passes he averaged in 11 Serie A starts last term should endear him to the Magpies’ esteemed scouting network, while first-team involvement would be guaranteed at St James’ Park.
Christian Eriksen isn’t doing too badly in a roaming role, but a deep-lying orchestrator could be required to freshen up Spurs’ middle band.
Someone to pick defensive locks would bring an added element to a midfield that’s dominated by the swashbuckling styles of Paulinho and Mousa Dembele, while Sandro is preoccupied with thwarting opposition attacks.
Kovacic could prove an affordable solution to this problem, while his tender age means he wouldn’t take exception to being rotated around their huge squad.
The Toffees could do with a young, attack-minded creator given the advancing years of Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar, while pint-sized magician Gerard Deulofeu may well return to parent club Barcelona.
Croatian international Kovacic fits in with the Roberto Martinez mould and will be available for a price their modest budget could cater for.