Real Madrid loanee Mateo Kovacic has been quite happy with life at Chelsea, living in London and playing regularly in the Premier League after years of being a backup player for the La Liga giants. Then came the transfer ban, and his plans of turning the temporary loan arrangement into a permanent one this summer have been thrown out the window.
According to Madrid-based Marca, Kovacic could be one of the most directly impacted players by the two-window transfer ban imposed by FIFA, which is currently under appeal, but not suspended. His loan contract ends in June and as things stand, he would be forced to leave the club as Chelsea could not register him anew for next season even if his loan were extended or turned into a permanent transfer — interestingly, Marca use the phrase “exercising their purchase option”, which is the first time I can recall anyone saying Chelsea have that option on Mateo (Marca themselves reported back in August that there wasn’t one).
Chelsea have appealed to FIFA against the ban, and were hoping the punishment would be suspended until the appeal ran its course, as is standard practice. But in an unprecedented move, FIFA did not freeze the ban (as they did when Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atlético Madrid were hit by the same sanctions). Chelsea’s only hope of being able to conduct business as usual this summer is for FIFA to finish the appeals process much quicker than normal and give Chelsea time to appeal to a higher power in CAS instead (who presumably would suspend the ban while their appeals process was ongoing).
Marca say that Kovacic will look to stay in the Premier League either way — it’s been reported before that he’s not in Real Madrid’s plans for next season — though he would obviously prefer to stay with Chelsea.
And so we wait.