Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has set his sights on Real Madrid’s bit-part midfielder Mateo Kovacic, according to Don Balon.
Guardiola will be looking to increase the depth of the squad following a very successful first part of the season as City top the table with an 11-point lead after 18 games. Kovacic, who joined Real Madrid from Inter Milan in 2015, has found limited playing time under Zinedine Zidane, but despite that the French manager deems him a valuable member of the squad and is unlikely to want to let go of him.
Guardiola, however, will try to tempt the Croatian away from Stadiu Bernabeu and is believed to be preparing a bid of around €50 million in January. Whether this will be accepted by Real Madrid or not remains to be seen. The White Ballet already rejected a €70-million bid from Juventus in August.
Should the Citizens be serious about going for Kovacic, however, they will face competition from city rivals Manchester United which could part of bigger political games to weaken the competition. United could go for Kovacic in bid to replace Heinrikh Mkhitaryan who is reported to be on his way out of Old Trafford, but this could be part of a plan to boost the asking price for the Croatian in order to hit City’s finances, if that is possible.
Kovacic has clocked just 157 minutes under Zidane this season, and despite having a whopping 93.7% of pass success ratio, he has remained outside of the French manager’s selection sheet for most of the time.
Kovacic is currently evaluated at around £27 million. His current contract with Real Madrid runs out in 2021.