Chelsea will be allowed to sign loanee Mateo Kovacic permanently this summer with the midfielder not in Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane’s first-team plans.
The Frenchman – who won three successive Champions League trophies during his first spell at the Bernabeu – returned to the club on Monday, replacing Santiago Solari after the side’s dismal Champions League exit.
Zidane has been promised the funds required to dramatically overhaul Real’s ageing and struggling squad and he feels the midfield is one area that needs particular addressing.
According to Sport Mediaset, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric could both be let go – partly to raise funds and free up the wage bill – as Zidane looks to bring in younger options.
Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen has long been linked with Real, while Manchester United star Paul Pogba – who idolised Zidane growing up – has also been mooted.
But despite wanting to freshen up his midfield, Zidane will not be calling on Kovacic to return to the Bernabeu in the summer.
The Frenchman lost faith in Kovacic in their final season together, starting him just 10 times in La Liga, and the midfielder admitted when he joined Chelsea that he ‘needed’ a manager who would show more faith in him and give him confidence.
But the Croatian has not pulled up any trees at Stamford Bridge despite being given the bigger role he has craved, having already equalled the 39 appearances he made in his most used season for Real.
He has only assisted twice in those outings and is yet to score, and Real will look to sell him in the summer even if Chelsea decide against making the loan into a permanent transfer.