Manchester United are interested in Chelsea star Mateo Kovacic as they target ‘greater physicality’ in midfield, but will have to battle Manchester City and Bayern Munich to sign him.
Kovacic is about to enter the final year of his contract and with no movement on fresh terms The Guardian claim ‘Chelsea have accepted they are likely to lose him this summer’.
Chelsea desperately need to reduce the size of the squad and stump up funds through player sales after their lavish £600m spend this season.
Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital are reluctant to keep players in the last year of their contracts and risk losing them for nothing, which is causing problems when it comes to Mason Mount’s new deal, and it appears Kovacic will be pushed towards the exit this summer.
The midfielder was a key player for Thomas Tuchel when the German boss was in charge of Chelsea and the pair could reuinite at Bayern.
It was claimed last month that the Bundesliga side won’t ‘necessarily having to resort to cash’ and could instead ‘undertake an incredible exchange negotiation’ for the midfielder by including Leroy Sane as part of the deal.
Kovacic and Chelsea could be Sane’s ‘escape route’ after the winger was punched in the face by teammate Sadio Mane after their defeat to Manchester City in the Champions League.
City are also keen, as they prepare for a potential future without Ilkay Gundogan, who’s out of contract in the summer.
A report claimed ‘Kovacic is a great desire of Pep Guardiola’, adding that Kovacic’s representative were in London to talk through a move to the Etihad with the City bosses, who wanted the Croatian international to replace Kalvin Phillips.
But The Guardian add that United have now entered the fray as Erik ten Hag looks to increase his midfield options.
They report that the Red Devils ‘will place a heavy emphasis on adding greater physicality this summer’, which they believe Kovacic can provide.