Real Madrid can’t afford to weaken their midfield any further, yet that hasn’t deterred Schalke in their bid to sign Mateo Kovacic with the German club strongly interested in the Croatian.
The 2017/18 season wasn’t the most productive for the former Internazionale midfielder, although injuries did curtain his progress in the early part of the season.
Interest in Kovacic remains high with Schalke just one of a number of clubs monitoring his situation.
A fantastic second-placed finish secured Champions League football for the Gelsenkirchen club, but they do need to find a replacement for the Bayern Munich bound Leon Goretzka.
In previous summers Zinedine Zidane refused to countenance any talk of a sale with regards to Kovacic as he was an integral part of the squad in a rotational role.
However, the reality is that he hasn’t had an awful lot of regular first team football over the course of the season and this is something that concerns him.
Zidane is no longer a factor and the Croatian international wants to play more, something that can’t be promised for as long as Los Blancos don’t have a coach in situ.
Kovacic’s contract in the Spanish capital runs until June 2021 and those in charge of Real believe him to be a real asset for the future, especially with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ageing.
They are also aware that Juventus could rival the German team should it become clear that a deal is possible.
Casemiro’s presence as the holding midfielder at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu is a problem because that’s the position preferred by Kovacic.
This won’t change even with a new coach and may further encourage him to force a move.