Manchester City have been handed a massive boost with just a few more weeks left in the 2018 summer window. Latest reports claim that Mateo Kovacic has already told the Real Madrid hierarchy that he wishes to be transferred off to somewhere else. In June he had told Spanish news outlet, Marca, “I want to play more and the best thing is to leave Madrid.”
The 24-year-old further added, “When I do not play, I am not happy. These three years in Madrid, with some incredible teammates, winning trophies… but I have not been completely happy because my contribution to all that has not been the maximum and it’s something I want to change.”
The 2018 FIFA World Cup was a mixture of frustration and ecstasy for the 24-year-old central midfield. Unfortunately for Kovacic, he did not get to feature much for Croatia in the tournament but did see his side rise to the occasion and finish as a finalist. He was expected to succeed his compatriot, Luka Modric at the Santiago Bernabeu but after three seasons, it has not been the case. Currently, he is below the pecking order and was able to feature in only 21 La Liga games last season, just 10 of them as a starter.
Even though Zinedine Zidane has rotated the midfield around the club’s domestic and European campaigns, Kovacic has found it hard to break into the first team ahead of Casimiro, Luka Modric, Isco and Toni Kroos. Kovacic arrived at the Spanish capital in the summer of 2015 for £25m from Inter Milan.
He is a versatile presence in midfield and has the technical brilliance to really drive his team’s attack. He can play in a deep anchor position as well as an attacking midfielder.
He has been capped 46 times already for the Croatia national team but his chances of regular selection have decreased due to his scarce selection at club level. The 24-year-old can dribble past opposition defenders and has a decent passing range. His development has been stalled over the past couple of seasons but still has the tinge of world-class talent under those rusty boots.
With Fernandinho turning 33 this year, Pep Guardiola is strongly considering a backup option for the Brazilian in the midfield anchor role. Ilkay Gundogan is also being talked around in the rumour mills over a possible departure, should he reject a new contract. Yaya Toure has already exited the Etihad and City’s dominating stance will be hard to replicate next season without the necessary provisions and Kovacic can be the perfect player to come into the side and shoulder the responsibilities of leading the charge of the Manchester City midfield.