Kovacic moves to Chelsea on loan


New Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri has bolstered his midfield options with the capture of Mateo Kovacic on a season-long loan from Real Madrid.

The Croatia international, who helped his country reach the 2018 World Cup final, moves to Stamford Bridge after failing to establish himself at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Kovacic made just 21 starts in all competitions under former Real manager Zinedine Zidane last term, although Julen Lopetegui had hoped to make use of him in the new campaign.

However, the 24-year-old midfielder has decided to take up a fresh challenge in yet another country, after spells in the Croatian, Italian and Spanish top flights.

His arrival in west London comes one day after the FA Cup champions signed Kepa from Athletic Bilbao in a world-record transfer for a goalkeeper, which saw Thibaut Courtois join Kovacic’s parent club.

“I am really happy and excited to be here at Chelsea,” he told the Premier League club’s official website. “It is an amazing feeling. I will try to do my best for this club.

“It is a new league for me, the beginning is always tough but I am sure the coach and my new team-mates will help me and I am looking forward to a great season.”

Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia added: “We are very happy to welcome Mateo to the Chelsea family. He is a perfect fit for us this season, his style is well suited to how Maurizio wants to play and we are sure he will prove to be a valuable asset for the club.”