Chelsea boost: Mateo Kovacic ‘will not return to Real Madrid’

European champions Real Madrid are ready to part with Mateo Kovacic on a permanent basis, according to Spanish outlet AS.

Kovacic’s Real struggles

24-year-old Croatian international Kovacic made the surprise move to Stamford Bridge on a season-long loan this past summer, following another frustrating campaign largely confined to the bench of European champions Real Madrid.

Having managed a solid 19 La Liga starts during the 2016/17 season, Kovacic was expected to push for a starting berth in the midfield of Los Blancos last time out.

However, the presence of the likes of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro proved too much to contend with for the former Inter Milan, who was, all told, handed a paltry 10 league starts by Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu last season.

As such, inevitable speculation surrounding the Croat’s future was forthcoming during the summer transfer window.

The likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Juventus and more were all heavily linked with potential swoops for Kovacic.

In the end, though, it was Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea who clinched a season-long loan deal for the Blancos midfielder on the 9th of August.

And Kovacic has since gone on to enjoy a solid start to life at Stamford Bridge. He has been handed starts in 9 of Chelsea’s 14 Premier League outings to this point in the campaign.

However, it was initially reported in Spain during the summer that Kovacic’s move to London was nothing more than a dry loan, and that Chelsea would not be given the option of securing the Croatian international’s signature permanently next summer.

But, as per the aforementioned update courtesy of AS this evening, the months since have seen Real’s stance take a drastic turn regarding Kovacic’s potential future with the club.

The Spanish outlet claim that, after reflecting on the situation, the board at the Bernabeu were left wholly disappointed by the actions of both the midfielder and his entourage in forcing a departure from the club during the summer.

As such, Kovacic is now seen as having ‘virtually no’ future in the Spanish capital.

AS add that negotiations have already begun with a view to a permanent transfer in the near future.

Chelsea remain the favourites to secure his signature, though London rivals Tottenham are also said to be ‘very interested’.

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