Maurizio Sarri hopes Mateo Kovacic will become a full-time Chelsea player following his loan spell with the club at the end of this season.
The 24-year-old, currently on loan from Real Madrid, made his first competitive start for the club during the Blues’ 2-1 win at Newcastle United on Sunday, before making way for Ross Barkley with 10 minutes remaining.
The opportunity to record valuable minutes will please the Austrian-born Croatia international, after forcing an exit from Los Blancos as part of Thibaut Courtois’ high-profile move to the Spanish capital due to a lack of game time in Madrid.
And, while speaking to the Daily Star ahead of his side’s victory at the weekend, Sarri insisted he hopes the player can continue to record even more past his loan spell, with an eye already on making the deal a permanent one.
“It’s too early to say,” the Italian responded when probed about a potential agreement for Kovacic. “I like him and hopefully he could stay here.”
Real Madrid were reluctant to part ways with the midfielder ahead of this season, with Los Blancos seeing the creator as more than a substantial back up for their first choice trio of Luka Modric, Casemiro and – seemingly after the first two games – Isco.
However, as has already been shown with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo moving on this summer, as well as the continued speculation surrounding the aforementioned Modric and Raphael Varane – it appears Florentino Perez’s outfit are currently undergoing a period of transition.
And although it is unlikely that either the 71-year-old nor new coach Julen Lopetegui will want to see one of their talents leave on a full-time basis, particularly if Modric’s situation cannot be resolved, their hand may be forced by Kovacic due to the simple offer of more first-team opportunities at Chelsea.