Real Madrid have secured the signing of midfielder Mateo Kovacic from Inter Milan on a six-year deal for a fee reported to be around €35 million. The move has come as a shock to many , as Kovacic has not been linked with Madrid throughout the summer and was in fact a Liverpool target. Rafael Benitez is looking to strengthen the midfield, with Casemiro coming into the squad from Porto. But the surprise signing of Kovacic has actually foregathered this Madrid midfield even more than before. With midfielders like James Rodriguez, Toni Kroos, Isco, Luka Modric, Illarramendi, Casemiro and Lucas Silva already in the squad, Kovacic will find it hard to secure a place in the team too often.
Though there has been news that Illarramendi might leave Madrid for Liverpool who are desperately seeking a central midfielder, recent reports have suggested that the Spanish international is not going anywhere.
Real Madrid insists there are no offers for Illarramendi as yet
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) August 18, 2015
There is no question of the quality of Kovacic, as he enjoyed a wonderful two-and-a-half-year spell at Inter Milan. The 21-year-old Croatian scored five goals in 35 appearances in Serie A last season, and the arrival of midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia has been a major factor in Kovacic’s transfer. Kovacic will team up with his felloew Croatian midfielder Luka Modric at the Bernebeu, who once said that Kovacic is a phenomenal talent.
“People in Real ask me about Mateo Kovacic all the time. He is a phenomenal talent and will play in some of the biggest clubs. Inter is a big club, no doubt, but Kovacic will play in even bigger.”
Croatia legend and former Milan midfielder Zvonimir Boban also praised Kovacic. “The player has talents that could make him even better than me. He is an incredibly serious professional for someone his age. Kovacic is a complete player. He is not a born regista but he is playing there now. He is a complete talent that can still grow – he has incredible potential. I believe he is perfect for the 3-5-2, he can play as a second striker or advanced playmaker and sees the field like a playmaker.”
But despite the quality of the player, questions are being raised regarding the need of the player in Real in the first place. A player of Isco’s abilities has been in and out of the team despite his good form, due to immense competition in the Blancos’ midfield. And with Benitez playing Bale as the new no. 10, it might become even harder for Kovacic to find a place in the starting 11.
Kovačić to Real Madrid doesn't make any sense for the club or the player. They don't need him, he's not good enough for them and won't play.
— Aleksandar Holiga (@AlexHoliga) August 16, 2015
Kovacic’s arrival is a likely indication that one of the Madrid’s midfielders will not wear an all white shirt next season. And with Illarramendi and Lucas Silva the only players to get very little play time in the team, one of them is most likely to leave the club.