Under the transfer ban, unless the player is under 16 years of age, there are only two players we can sign on a permanent deal – Gonzalo Higuain and Mateo Kovacic.

But that has to be confirmed by before end of play tomorrow (June 30th). This is due to both players already being registered as Chelsea players up until the mentioned date.

Higuain of course, will return to Juventus. But Chelsea look set to announce the signing of Mateo Kovacic on a 5-year deal, for a fee of just over £40 million, including bonuses.

For me, this is a wise move. For a starters, Kovacic wants to be at Chelsea and expressed his desire to make the deal permanent.

We want players who belong to Chelsea, and will have that mentality to succeed. Kovacic has a pretty decent mentality anyway, but that will only increase now he’s a full Chelsea player.

I admit, the Croatian International has awful offensive stats, and had not been an attacking threat all season. For a midfielder, that’s not good enough. I think that will improve vastly this season under the coaching of Frank Lampard.

I’m not taking anything away from Maurizio Sarri but a lot like Eden Hazard (admitted by Sarri himself), Kovacic perhaps isn’t entirely suited to full ‘SarriBall’.

Both players prefer to hold onto the ball and dribble with it, whereas Sarri prefers one touch passing.

Kovacic will benefit more under Lampard by perhaps being given more freedom to play his own game.

He’s still young having only just turned 25, so naturally he has room to improve the poorer sides of his game.

But one of the main reasons for me believing this is a wise move, is our squad depth. Ruben Loftus-Cheek-Cheek is likely to miss a good half of the season. Mason Mount is unproven in the Premier League, and we will be competing in four competitions, one of those being the most competitive in European Football in the shape of the Champions League.

So we not only need Kovacic as a number, we also need his experience of playing in such competitions and also now having that Premier League experience. It’s vital.

We haven’t been ripped off, the fee we are paying Real Madrid is more than reasonable.

But the biggest thing for me, is Kovacic is not an attacking midfielder and needs to be utilised in a deeper role. This is where he plays his best football.

When he’s been on it last season he was a real joy to watch. He’s press resistant, decent at intercepting, can tackle, and is one of the best at carrying the ball out of defence and transitioning it into an attacking play. This is his main strength, and I think Lampard will utilise that.

I’m not claiming Kovacic is a solid starter every game, but he’s definitely a wise and decent signing to add options and squad depth to our transfer banned squad this season.

Simon Phillips

Advertisements