Chelsea have signed Mateo Kovacic on a five-year deal from Real Madrid for a fee believed to be in the region of £45million.
The midfielder initially moved to Stamford Bridge on loan last summer, helping the Blues to win the Europa League in May.
He has now completed a permanent move, with the Blues expected to appoint Frank Lampard as their new manager in the coming days. The incoming Blues manager is believed to have personally given the deal the green light.
Kovacic has signed a five year deal with the Blues until summer 2024 and is thought to be on £90,000 a week.
Explaining why he wanted to make the move permanent, Kovacic told the club’s official website: “I really enjoyed my season on loan with Chelsea, I feel comfortable at the club and like London and the Premier League very much. I am very happy to be able to join permanently.
“We had a successful year, winning the Europa League and I hope I can make a big contribution in the coming seasons.”
The 25-year-old – who was the subject of a signing gaffe on the Chelsea app – made 51 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea, who finished third in the Premier League, but did not score.
Kovacic moves in the opposite direction to Eden Hazard, who completed his big money move to the Bernabeu last month.
Chelsea are currently banned from registering new signings until the summer of 2020 after being found guilty of breaching rules when signing youth players.
But they have been able to complete this signing as it is seen as an extension to the deal agreed when Kovacic joined on loan last summer, with Chelsea merely exercising their ‘option to buy’ clause.
It could prove their only permanent deal of the summer if they’re unable to get the ban overturned.
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