Mateo Kovačić: Does he deserve to stay at Chelsea?
Mateo Kovacic arrived at Stamford Bridge amid much fanfare. Everybody seemed to believe that Chelsea had done a brilliant deal in getting him as part of the Courtois deal. But as the season reaches its end, the Chelsea fanfare is divided over Kovacic. Many questions have been raised about his best position and what he truly brings to the team. So, has Kovacic done enough to earn a permanent transfer?
Mateo Kovacic's career stagnated at Real Madrid. Ever since he arrived at the Bernabeu, he was only used at a depth player and it became clear that he needed to move. He earned a loan move to Chelsea, where he initially looked great. His passing, dribbling, all looked fantastic. But as the season has progressed, there have been questions about his true role in the team. He is yet to score and has managed only a meagre 2 assists in the Premier League. The above statistics are surprising for a player who is being deployed in the most advanced position in midfield.
The true question has been about what Kovacic actually brings to the table. Kovacic has great dribbling as well as tidy distribution. He is quite solid defensively and isn't afraid to play physical. Where he is lacking though is the end product. There have been numerous chances where Kovacic has been in good goalscoring positions but has failed to put the ball into the back of the net. He has fluffed great shooting opportunities where the likes of Barkley, Loftus-Cheek would have ended up scoring.
The best part of Kovacic's skills is his versatility and his ability to play in all positions throughout midfield. Of late, Kovacic has been deployed in the CDM role or as the 'Regista' in Sarriball terms. His distribution has been tidy and precise. His ability to dribble out of pressure situations and defensive solidarity differentiates him from Jorginho and suggests that his role as the Regista could increase in the coming days.
If Kovacic can work on his end product and shooting skills, then he can be a great asset to Chelsea who dream of playing Champions League football next season. Sarri is a more than capable manager of improving Kovacic who is quite young and still developing. Giving him more playing time as the Regista or even in the box to box role further enhance his development. If given a good price, Chelsea should look to obtain Kovacic and use him as a player to play for the Blues in the coming years.