Chelsea are close to completing the permanent signing of loanee midfielder Mateo Kovačić from Real Madrid at the end of the season.
The Croatia international has been a regular part of Maurizio Sarri’s set up at Stamford Bridge but largely with mixed results, having been lent to the west London club due to his lack of playing time at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Although Kovačić has failed to set the world alight since joining Chelsea last summer, Marca reports that the Blues are close to reaching an agreement with Real Madrid which will see him join the club permanently this summer.
Chelsea still have to endure a two-window transfer ban for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations, but a deal for Kovačić will bypass their restrictions as they specifically apply to registering new players.
Marca adds that Real Madrid are also close to wrapping up their deal for Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, but that the Belgian’s move to the Spanish capital is a separate transfer to Kovačić’s.
The 28-year-old has been flirting with a move to the Santiago Bernabéu for a number of years and rumours over a switch have been at an all-time high as Hazard prepares to enter the final year of his contract at Stamford Bridge.
Although the club will not be able to sign a replacement for Hazard until 2020, the arrival of Christian Pulisic and continued development of Callum Hudson-Odoi has been deemed to be enough to fill the gap next season.
Real Madrid had initially opted against making a marquee signing following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure last season, but the club have now made a U-turn on their decision and are soon expected to make Hazard their third signing of the summer.