In his effort to ditch parent club Real Madrid for good, the on-loan midfielder Mateo Kovačić’s representatives are currently ‘in talks’ with Zenit St. Petersburg just in case Chelsea are unable to purchase him this summer.
Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic in talks regarding potential move to Zenit St Petersburg https://t.co/jQUL9lPfLU— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) April 17, 2019
Head coach Maurizio Sarri has voiced his wish to make Kovačić a permanent signing, but given how Chelsea’s transfer ban hasn’t yet been suspended, that option is not available to us at the moment. That of course can change if Chelsea get a timely verdict from the FIFA Appeals Committee and can then take their case to CAS before the summer transfer window opens. If CAS do suspend the ban, as is expected, Chelsea could yet fulfill Sarri’s latest wish, although the rumored price tag in the region of €50m may be a bit too high for a player who’s good but hasn’t exactly dominated the Premier League thus far.
Russia may seem like a weird option at first — and Kovačić is said to prefer staying in England even if it’s not with Chelsea — but Zenit are perennial Champions League (or Europa League) contenders and are currently leading the Russian Premier League with 48 points in 23 matches, enjoying six-point advantage over second place Lokomotiv Moscow with only seven games left.
(They are also currently the home of two former Chelsea veterans, Yuri Zhirkov and vice-captain Branislav Ivanović. Hi guys!)