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Mateo Kovacic transfer: The clubs who could sign €50 million-rated Real Madrid star

09:45 EAT 01/07/2018
Mateo Kovacic GFX
The Croatia midfielder desires to leave the Spanish side this summer and is wanted by a number of Europe's top clubs. So where should he head next?

Mateo Kovacic wants to leave Real Madrid this summer. After three seasons in which he has featured mostly as a substitute for Los Blancos, the Croatia midfielder has his mind set on a more important role elsewhere.

Signed by Rafa Benitez in the summer of 2015 for a fee in the region of €30 million, he is probably the greatest legacy from the Spanish coach's short reign at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Croatia midfielder has made 109 appearances in his three seasons and won nine trophies, including three Champions League crowns. However, he has more often than not been left out of the side for the most important matches of all.

"I want to play more and the best thing is to leave Madrid," he told Marca last week. "I love football and being on the pitch. I want the opportunity to be a starter on another team. If I do not play, I'm not happy."

It is understandable. At the age of 24 and approaching his best years as a three-time Champions League winner already, Kovacic now wants to be a protagonist and not just a bit-part player, even if Real Madrid still hope he will stay.


Mateo Kovacic transfer value & contract


Mateo Kovacic is under contract at Real Madrid until 2021 and the midfielder has a release clause set at a prohibitive €300m. They will not let him leave without a fight.

The Croatia midfielder was seen as a long-term replacement for Luka Modric, who will be 33 in September, and is likely to be a part of the plans of new coach Julen Lopetegui.

His real value in the transfer market is obviously much less than his clause, but Madrid will be reluctant to let him leave for a fee similar to the one they paid Inter three years ago.

With the market inflated by Neymar's move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain last August and Kovacic described by Benitez to Real president Florentino Perez as "a future €100m player", Madrid will want at least €50m for the midfielder if he is to leave this summer.


The clubs who want Mateo Kovacic


A number of Europe's elite clubs are considering a move for Kovacic and will have been alerted by his recent comments about a summer switch for more playing time.

In Italy, the Croatian is already well known from his time at Inter and a return to Serie A is one possibility. Juventus are interested in the midfielder, although no contact has been made yet with Real Madrid.

Roma are also in the market for another central midfielder following the departure of Radja Nainggolan to Inter and are keen on Kovacic, while the Milan side would also like to bring back their former player.

There has been interest from Manchester United in the 24-year-old, too, while Tottenham are keeping tabs on the player they believe could be a replacement for Belgium midfielder Mousa Dembele in north London, with the 30-year-old already admitting that he may leave this summer.


Which club is best for Mateo Kovacic?


Of those five, all are potentially good fits for Kovacic. Given regular playing time, he is good enough to hold down a first-team place at any of the teams pushing for his signature this summer.

Juventus could be the most difficult in that respect, with competition for places likely to be fierce in central midfield with Miralem Pjanic, Sami Khedira, Claudio Marchisio, Blaise Matuidi and now Emre Can at the Turin-based club.

At Roma, Kovacic would surely be a starter, especially after the departure of Nainggolan to Inter, with the capital club set to build on last season's success of reaching the Champions League semi-finals by bringing in more exciting players under sporting director Monchi.

At Inter, a partnership with Nainggolan is potentially mouth-watering, while he also looks like an ideal fit for the Premier League given his technique, speed and ability to run with the ball. If Dembele does leave Tottenham, he would be a good fit for Spurs, and his skill set means he would also slot in well under Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford.

Ultimately, it will come down to personal preference for the player and after spending so much time on the Bernabeu bench, he may prefer to choose a slightly smaller side where he can feel important instead of opting for another giant like Juventus or United.