Chelsea sign Kovačić from Real Madrid

English Premier League giants Chelsea have confirmed the permanent signing of Mateo Kovačić from Real Madrid.

The Croatian international spent last season on loan at Stamford Bridge, making 32 Premier League appearances (21 starts) under Maurizio Sarri. He started the Europa League final in which Chelsea beat rivals Arsenal 4-1 at the end of May.

Manager Sarri has since departed Chelsea, with Frank Lampard widely expected to be announced as his replacement later this week.

Neither club has disclosed the transfer fee but the Metro reported earlier in the week that the English side will be paying £45 million for the central midfielder.

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has plenty of options in centre midfield with Toni Kroos, Luka Modrić, Dani Ceballos and youngster Federico Valverde.

Mateo Kovačić made just 10 starts and a further 11 substitute appearances in La Liga during the 2017-18 campaign when Zidane was in charge, suggesting the 25-year-old was not in the returning manager’s plans.