Why Mateo Kovacic to Manchester City could make more sense
The 24-year-old made 36 appearances last season and 39 before that, however, most of them have been from the bench, which has frustrated the World Cup runner-up.
There have been several Premier League clubs interested in the player, including Manchester United and Liverpool. With the Croat now clearly signalling his intentions, clubs should step up their pursuit for the player who has a release clause of €50m.
Manchester City meanwhile missed out on their top summer target Jorginho and will be eager to add to their defensive midfield department. Kovacic might just be the man for Pep Guardiola’s men to back Fernandinho up.
Here’s why the 24-year-old moving to the Etihad stadium will be a right move for both parties:
Player Analysis – Mateo Kovacic
Age – 24
Main Positions – Central midfield, defensive midfield
Kovacic is a versatile midfielder who can perform various roles across the central areas of the pitch. He is a very refined ball carrier who can dribble past defenders in a flash, at an average of 1.7 per game, to open up spaces for a pass. The 24-year-old’s pass completion rate of 93.7% epitomises his reliability in possession. Not many can take the ball off him.
The Croat is a very diligent defender when not in possession, as he has the game awareness to block certain spaces required to be defended. Furthermore, he never shies away from a tackle, putting it in at a rate of 1.8 per game in the La Liga.
Kovacic is physically well-built to challenge for 50-50 balls in the midfield and come out on top. In Guardiola’s 4-3-3 system, he can be deployed as one of the central midfielders or as a defensive shield in front of the back-four.
Overall, the Croat can be a fit in the high-intensity game of the Premier League champions. He possesses the attributes to not just be a cover for Fernandinho but also take that first-choice defensive midfield role.
For the player, it will be a massive opportunity to come out of Madrid and play in England. If he performs well, no one can take the spot from him.
His determination to play games and prove his talent might just be the kicker Manchester City need if they are to buy a midfielder.
Stats Courtesy – Whoscored.com