Eden Hazard is set to be ready for Arsenal, meaning Chelsea is just one Mateo Kovacic shy of their best XI. His debut will be worth the wait.
The exact nature of Mateo Kovacic’s deal is still incredibly fuzzy. Is there an option to buy? Even if there is not, he seems pretty adamant his Real Madrid career is over.
The truth of that matter is that Chelsea and the fans will not know whether the deal itself was a good one or not until the loan ends.
But the player himself? That is a different story. Kovacic is an incredibly talented midfielder who was unlucky to be at Real Madrid at the wrong time.
Still, he immediately walks into Chelsea’s best XI when fully fit and will give the Blues and incredibly powerful and dynamic midfield alongside Jorginho and N’Golo Kante.
But the question is when exactly will he make his debut for Chelsea? And will the wait be worth it? The answer to the first is a bit complicated but can more or less be deduced. The answer to the second is a resounding yes.
It is important to remember that Kovacic has not had any preseason to speak of whatsoever. Because Croatia made the World Cup final, he returned late to preseason with Real Madrid.
And even though he had returned, he was pushing for an exit so he trained alone or not at all. When he arrived at Chelsea, he was basically at the very start of his preseason.
So it is no wonder why he was not even ready to make the bench against Huddersfield. Many fans have been asking in forums if he will be ready for Arsenal.
He will not be ready to start of course, but he could make the bench. That is, unless Sarri does not want to even risk wasting a bench spot in such an important match.
At best, Kovacic will make his debut off the bench against Arsenal. That will likely take the Blues having a resounding lead. If he fails to come off the bench against Arsenal, he will likely make the substituent off the bench in the next match against Newcastle.
But Kovacic’s full, first team start will most likely come against Bournemouth regardless. It is a home match against a tricky side that will trend towards midtable.
That seems like the perfect opportunity to send Kovacic out and give him a go. Following that will be the first international break. Kovacic should be up and running when he returns from that.
Kovacic will be worth that wait. Even playing as a rotational option at Real Madrid, he put up some impressive stats. He will barrel through opposition midfields like a bull in a china shop.
And unlike Ross Barkley or Ruben Loftus-Cheek, he will be more aware of the passing options around him.
Between Kante and Kovacic, the Blues will have a wrecking ball of a midfield on and off the ball. Jorginho will be the conductor telling them where to hit and how hard to hit.
Chelsea will be humming once Kovacic hits the field. Then the Blues can start their campaign to make his move to Chelsea a full time gig.