A key Chelsea player looks certain to leave Stamford Bridge this summer and a report has named Man Utd as one of three heavyweights who are ready to pounce.
As a consequence of Chelsea’s colossal spend on transfers over the last two windows, something of a firesale is expected this summer.
The Evening Standard recently listed 15 players who could make way. Among them was Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic who will have just 12 months left on his contract at season’s end.
Todd Boehly is known to be adopting a more ruthless approach to player sales moving forward. The Blues will no longer allow stars to enter the final year of their deals, thus churning up two possible outcomes.
The first is any relevant player must sign a new contract. The second is they’ll be sold a year before they become a free agent to ensure Chelsea don’t lose highly saleable assets for nothing.
One player who fits into that situation is Kovacic, and according to the Guardian, a summer exit is odds-on.
Indeed, the outlet state Chelsea ‘have accepted they are likely to lose’ Kovacic at the end of the season.
The 29-year-old is deemed ‘likely’ to be one of the highest profile departures and there is ‘no indication’ an agreement over a new contract will be reached.
Man Utd, Man City, Bayern Munich in the frame
On the subject of where the midfield dynamo might move, the Guardian list Man Utd, Man City and Bayern Munich as potential destinations.
Bayern are managed by Thomas Tuchel who knows Kovacic well through his time at Chelsea. City have long been linked with Kovacic in the event they lose Ilkay Gundogan to free agency this summer.
However, the most intriguing option would be Man Utd who it’s claimed ‘will place a heavy emphasis on adding greater physicality’ in the market this summer.
Kovacic is an all-action midfielder and would represent a more robust option to partner Casemiro in the midfield over Christian Eriksen, for example.
His ball-carrying ability and technical skills are also highlighted in the piece and losing Kovacic is described as a ‘blow’ for Chelsea.
Sabitzer transfer at risk if Kovacic signs?
One potential consequence of bringing Kovacic to Old Trafford could be felt by Marcel Sabitzer.
The Bayern midfielder is currently on loan at Man Utd and will not feature in Tuchel’s plans in Bavaria moving forward.
Sabitzer’s loan deal does not contain an option to buy, though a deal can reportedly be struck from scratch for a modest £16m, according to BILD.
However, Sabitzer and Kovacic play in the same position and given Man Utd’s priority is an elite-level centre-forward, they may not have the resources to sign both Kovacic and Sabitzer too.