Chelsea have bolstered their midfield options with the loan signing of the talented Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid.
Having emerged as a hot prospect in Serie A with Inter after beginning his career at Dinamo Zagreb, Kovacic joined Madrid in 2015 for a reported €35-million with a burgeoning reputation.
But it was argued by some that he accepted the move too early and he has subsequently struggled to earn a place in Madrid’s first-team.
Midfield often proved a problem area for Chelsea under Antonio Conte last season, with signings Tiemoue Bakayoko, Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley failing to impress following their respective transfers.
New coach Maurizio Sarri looks set to use a 4-3-3 formation, meaning midfield options are required, and Kovacic will offer an interesting blend of creativity and combativeness.
There were regular suggestions in the Spanish media that Zinedine Zidane was unwilling to rely on the Croatian, who went on to play five times for his country at the World Cup as they finished as runners-up.
He made just 10 starts in LaLiga last season and, although Julen Lopetegui – Zidane’s successor – appeared set to keep hold of Kovacic, the player has got a move away after reportedly declaring his desire to leave.
Chelsea are not thought to have a purchase option on Kovacic, who is expected to return to Madrid once again at the end of the season.
The move comes a day after goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois headed in the opposite direction.
‘I am really happy and excited to be here at Chelsea,’ Kovacic told the club’s official website. ‘It is an amazing feeling. I will try to do my best for this club.
‘It is a new league for me, the beginning is always tough but I am sure the coach and my new teammates will help me and I am looking forward to a great season.’