Pep Guardiola will be enthused with Mateo Kovacic after hearing what the midfielder had to say about Manchester City when joining the club from Chelsea.
Kovacic signed for Chelsea on an initial loan in summer 2018 and the transfer was made permanent the following year. He made 221 appearances for the Blues, helping them to win the Champions League, Europa League, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup.
However, Kovacic’s future at Stamford Bridge came into question recently as he prepared to enter the final 12 months of his Chelsea contract. And City soon set their sights on him as a potential replacement for Ilkay Gundogan, who has joined Barcelona on a free transfer.
And City have now confirmed Kovacic’s arrival at the Etihad on a four-year contract. According to The Guardian, the treble winners have agreed to pay £25million plus £5m in add-ons for the Croatia international. He is their first new signing of the summer transfer window.
In his first interview since becoming a City player, Kovacic labelled Guardiola’s team ‘the best in the world’ and stated how he hopes to improve under the Spanish tactician.
“This is a brilliant move for me, and I cannot wait to get started with City,” he told club media.
“Anyone who has watched this team under Pep knows how good they are – for me, they are the best in the world. The trophies they have won are clear for all to see, but they are also the best footballing side out there.
“To be joining this squad really is a dream for any footballer.
Mateo Kovacic aims to ‘become a better player’ under Guardiola
“I still have plenty of learning and developing to do, and I know under Pep’s management I can become a better player, which is really exciting for me.
“My plan now is to rest for a few weeks before coming back to Manchester to prepare for the new season. I want to help this club stay at the top and win more trophies.”
City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain said: “Mateo is an excellent footballer.
“He can play as a 6 or an 8, has plenty of experience at top level clubs and he understands the Premier League. It was a very simple decision to bring him to City because he has the tactical and technical qualities we are looking for in a midfielder.
“He is someone we have monitored for a very long time and always we were impressed whenever we watched him.
“I am delighted he is here. This is a great signing for this club, and I am very excited to watch what he can do with Pep and the rest of our backroom team.”
Kovacic could be followed to City by international team-mate Josko Gvardiol. They have already agreed personal terms with the defender but must now sort out a deal with his current club, RB Leipzig.
City have launched an opening offer worth €90m (£77m) for Gvardiol. However, Leipzig are holding out for €100m (£86m).