Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic will join Chelsea on a season-long loan deal as part of the deal that sees goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois move to Real in a permanent deal.
Kovacic, who was part of the Croatia squad that made a surprise run to the World Cup final in Russia this summer, arrives at Stamford Bridge hoping for more regular first-team opportunities after three years spent on the fringes of Madrid’s starting XI.
His arrival could pave the way for Tiemoue Bakayoko to leave Chelsea, with reports in Italy claiming that AC Milan are interested in taking him on a season-long loan with an option to buy next summer.
Kovacic joined Madrid from Inter for £27 million in the summer of 2015 and was part of the team that claimed three Champions League titles in four seasons, as well as winning La Liga in 2017, but he could not hold down a starting spot amid competition from Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Isco.
Speaking last week, new Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri revealed that he still wanted one more midfielder to round out his squad before the deadline.
“I talk with the club about the market but only one or maybe two times, not more,” he said. “I spoke about positions and characteristics but no names. So, I don’t know. I think we need something, but maybe only a player.
“We have very good midfielders, but maybe a midfielder with different characteristics [would be a good fit].”