With the Croatian midfielder struggling to hold down a regular place in Zinedine Zidane’s starting eleven; it is only natural that the 23-year-old is linked with a move away from Real Madrid, with Liverpool a possible destination.
Having started his career in style at Dinamo Zagreb scoring on his debut and in turn becoming their youngest ever goal scorer at the tender age of 16 years and 198 days old; a record since broken by Alen Halilovic (16 years 101 days old), Kovacic excelled from an early age. 3 years and 73 appearances later, the Austrian born Croatian international got a well-deserved move to European giants Inter Milan in the January of 2013, for a fee of around €11m.
Kovacic made 59 league appearances for the Nerazzurri in 2 and a half seasons at the San Siro and boasted a staggering 88% average pass accuracy, one of the greatest features of his game. Always looking for that killer through ball; he can control the tempo of games beautifully coupled with his great footwork and technique, he would be an excellent addition to Jurgen Klopp’s side. Financial fair play rules forced Inter Milan’s hand and a move to Real Madrid in 2015, for around €29m ,came to fruition. However, since then the midfielder has been stuck behind the likes of fellow countryman Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and, Casemiro for a place in the Real Madrid side and not really lived up to his potential.
With Emre Can’s contract up in the summer and a renewal looking less likely every week, Kovacic could be an ideal replacement for the German. He loves to drive at the heart of defences and can combine defence with attack exceptionally well. The midfielder has been used as a number 10, 8 and even, 6 at times in his career showing his versatility and ability to adapt his game.
As with any player potentially moving to the Premier League; the physicality of the greatest league in the world could be an issue. Kovacic is 5’10, what he may lack in height, he certainly makes up for in tenacity, vigour and grit. His commanding physique sets him apart from the rest and he would be well suited for Klopp’s attacking style of football. As such he wouldn’t solve our defensive issues as he is better suited playing further forward rather than as a ‘6’. He would offer an extra layer to our already glittering midfield and attack, especially considering the likely departure of our Brazilian magician Philippe Coutinho. (Either now or in the summer).
With his contract expiring the summer of 2021, he would not come cheap, costing around €50m, his buyout clause according to ESPN. The only issues arising are his lack of goal and assist contributions; with only 3 goals and 4 assist in 83 appearances since joining Real Madrid. Kovacic could be something very special but at the moment is struggling to fulfil his potential. I personally would love to see him in a red shirt as I feel he would flourish playing under Jurgen Klopp and would 100% unlock the star player we saw at Dinamo Zagreb and Inter Milan. Plus for reportedly €50m, you can’t go wrong considering the price of players these days.
Written by Tino Palmer
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📷 via @LFCGalaxy