Chelsea's Kovacic in talks with Zenit, as Real Madrid return looks unlikely
The Croatian midfielder is in talks with Zenit, reports the Daily Mail, as uncertainty remains over whether Chelsea can sign him on a permanent basis from Real Madrid.
Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic is in talks with Zenit St Petersburg about a possible move to the Russian club, according to reports by The Daily Mail.
The Croatian international joined Chelsea last summer on loan from Real Madrid. But as reported by AS, Los Blancos are not interested in taking him back at the end of the loan agreement this summer and are willing to listen to offers for the 24-year-old.
After a disappointing season at Real Madrid last season, Kovacic reportedly had a fallout with the club in the summer that led to a mutual agreement on his loan move to Chelsea. Since joining the Blues, Kovacic has been a regular starter under coach Maurizio Sarri, who has expressed his desire for the Croatian to stay permanently at Stamford Bridge.
However, uncertainty remains over whether the London club will be able to sign players this summer, as they await a verdict on an appeal over a Fifa-imposed two-window transfer ban for their involvement in illegally signing underage players.
The uncertainty on whether Chelsea will be able to sign him permanently could have prompted the 24-year-old to explore offers from other clubs, one of which has come in from Zenit, if the Daily Mail reports are correct.
Zidane gives greenlight to offload Bale and Kovacic
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has reportedly given the club his blessing to sell off the 24-year-old as he looks to reshape his squad for next season. Meanwhile, the French coach has also told the club to offload Gareth Bale, even if it requires taking a financial hit, according to The Independent.
The Welshman joined the club in 2013 for a fee of 101 million euros but has struggled to win over fans and successive managers during his six seasons at the club. And president Florentino Perez is also now understood to be open to letting him go at the end of the season, after having reportedly shielded the player from being ousted in previous summers.
With Perez reportedly willing to spend big this summer to bring in players such as Chelsea star Eden Hazard, offloading the likes of Bale and Kovacic would go some way in recouping some of the planned summer transfer expenditure.