Chelsea want to avoid the sale of a crucial midfielder in the summer despite previous reports he was at risk of an exit, according to the latest updates.
After spending so heavily in the past couple of transfer windows, Chelsea know they need to trim their squad in the summer. Right now, it is proving hard for head coach Graham Potter to keep all his players happy.
Indeed, the large squad size has been cited as one of the issues that has led to a situation in which Potter is under pressure. Hence, it is something Chelsea need to address at the next available opportunity.
One area that could undergo an evolution in the summer is their midfield. At the start of the season, their best combination in that department would have been Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic.
But Jorginho was sold to Arsenal in January six months before his contract was due to expire. Then, Kante – who has missed most of the season through injury – will also become a free agent in the summer unless Chelsea can renew his deal.
And Kovacic has also been in the spotlight because his contract will only have 12 months remaining by the summer. Hence, it might be Chelsea’s last opportunity to cash in on him.
To account for all the potential change in their midfield, Chelsea recently broke the British transfer record to sign Enzo Fernandez from Benfica. There may be further investment in the role later this year.
But according to an update from Football Insider, Chelsea have made it one of their priorities to keep both Kante and Kovacic.
Chelsea to discuss renewal with Kovacic
Already in discussions with the Frenchman, they are preparing to open talks with the Croatia international as well about renewing his contract. Since he is 28 now, any new deal would see him committing for the remainder of his peak years.
Like Kante, Kovacic has struggled with some injury issues in recent months. However, Chelsea still see him as part of their future, contrary to claims from earlier this month that they could sell him in the summer.
It would seem to align with other fresh news that Chelsea are more likely to sell some of their homegrown players in the summer. For example, fellow midfielders Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount may be on the way out.
But Kovacic seems like someone who could add significantly to his 207 appearances in a Chelsea shirt, of which 23 have come this season.
The reliable operator has scored five goals during his time with the club, which began in 2018 when he joined on an initial loan deal from Real Madrid.
As Chelsea’s spending possibly slows down, Kovacic could yet retain a settled space in their squad for more than just next season.
Man City join race for midfielder
However, a separate report from the Daily Telegraph is adding that Manchester City are showing an interest in Kovacic.
The reigning Premier League champions originally wanted Kovacic five years ago, prior to his Chelsea move. Pep Guardiola remains a big admirer of him, so City could launch a move for him depending on the futures of Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Kalvin Phillips.
The Telegraph speculates City could try to sign one or more midfielders this summer. A bid for Kovacic might not be too expensive given his contract situation.
But if Chelsea can renew his deal, like Football Insider says they want, it would make it harder for rival clubs to lure him away anyway.