Football News

Chelsea avoid losing more ball-carrying talent with permanent Mateo Kovacic signing

By Ollie Thomas

Published: 20:23, 30 June 2019

Chelsea have completed the permanent signing of Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid.

Kovacic spent last season on loan at Stamford Bridge and is permitted to sign for the Blues on a permanent deal, despite their transfer ban.

Kovacic completes Chelsea move: Five key things to know…

  • Kovacic made 51 appearances for Chelsea last season.
  • The fee is rumoured to be in the region of £40m.
  • Kovacic is eligible to sign for Chelsea since he was registered as their player when the transfer ban was put in place.
  • The Croatian midfielder managed just two assists and no goals in 32 league appearances during 2018/19.
  • He has signed for Chelsea despite the club not yet knowing who their next manager will be.

Kovacic averaged 2.17 dribbles completed in the Premier League last season, more than any centre-midfielder at Chelsea. Across the entire division, in terms of players in Kovacic’s position with 10 or more league starts, only Fulham’s Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (2.49) and Yves Bissouma (2.44), of Brighton, had better records.

The 25-year-old has put pen-to-paper on a five-year contract in west London and spoke to the club’s official website about his ambitions to try and help the club replicate their Europa League title success from last season in his future endeavours with the Blues.

He said: “I really enjoyed my season on loan with Chelsea, I feel comfortable at the club and like London and the Premier League very much. I am very happy to be able to join permanently.

“We had a successful year, winning the Europa League and I hope I can make a big contribution in the coming seasons.”

Despite European glory, his effectiveness in the Chelsea side was often questioned last season, as he failed to hold down a regular place in the starting XI. He saw the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley often preferred to partner N’Golo Kante in front of Jorginho.

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However, it appears logical for the Blues to sign the 25-year-old since he is the only player eligible for them to sign this summer following their transfer ban, which sees them unable to sign players for two windows.

This will be the second time that Real Madrid and Chelsea have done business this summer after winger Hazard swapped west London for sunny Spain in a deal worth an initial £89m.

Hazard completed the most dribbles across every position in the Premier League last season. The permanent deal for Kovacic, therefore, ensures the west London club retain some of the ball-carrying talent that helped them to a Europa League trophy and third-place finish last season.