Chelsea greenlight first summer exit as Man City given permission to begin damaging raid

Mateo Kovacic, Reece James, Chelsea, April 2023 Credit: Alamy
Mateo Kovacic, Reece James, Chelsea, April 2023 Credit: Alamy

Chelsea have reportedly given Manchester City permission to speak to midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who is keen to work under Pep Guardiola.

Only five current Chelsea players have been at the club longer than Kovacic. The midfielder has been a very useful member of the squad at Stamford Bridge since he joined four years ago.

In his time at the club, the 29-year-old has racked up 221 appearances. After joining from Real Madrid, where he won three Champions League trophies, he slotted right into the Blues’ side.

European success has followed him to Stamford Bridge. Kovacic was a key part of the 2018/19 Europa League winning side and the 2020/21 Champions League triumph.

Those achievements feel a long way away from where the Blues are now. Indeed, they had one of their worst Premier League seasons to date this campaign, finishing 12th.

Things on the pitch have not been helped by the swell of the squad. While 16 players coming through the door would suggest masses of quality coming through, it’s not hard to see why that many players joining in one season would cause problems.

There’s been a lot of chopping and changing, with different players being given time on the pitch. As a result, some have seen their game time suffer.

Kovacic has played 27 league games, starting 17 times. While he has sat out a little bit through injury, given how important he’s been during his Chelsea career, he’d expect to see the pitch more often.

City given permission to talk to Kovacic

His influence has been recognised elsewhere. Over the last few months, it’s been suggested Man City hold an interest in the midfielder, with Guardiola a fan of his.

Now, multiple outlets, including The Athletic, report City have been given permission to speak to him. The signing of Kovacic would be a great one for the Premier League champions.

That they keep improving year on year shows why they’re so successful. And with Ilkay Gundogan potentially heading out the door this summer, Kovacic seems a perfect replacement.

A player who has Premier League experience at a big club is a huge addition to the side, given they are losing a lot of quality and experience if Gundogan does go.

It’s suggested Kovacic is keen to work under Guardiola, so City seem poised to make the move.

Letting Kovacic go the wrong move

That Chelsea want to get some players off the books makes sense. Mauricio Pochettino will have his own ideas on how the squad should look after taking over as manager.

So selling players will be important, not only for that, but for the finances of the club after spending over £500million in two transfer windows.

However, getting rid of one of the most experienced players to a Premier League high-flyer seems the wrong move. It should surely be a red flag that the league’s best team wants the star.

That should tell Chelsea just how valuable he is. The midfielder’s experience is so important to the side, who might be left with no senior players if they continue with the same spending strategy they have done of late.

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