Chelsea and Mateo Kovacic have yet to open talks over a new deal, even though he has only 16 months left to run on his current contract.
According to the Evening Standard, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is an admirer of the Croatia international but could face stiff competition from Bayern Munich.
Thomas Tuchel, who knows Kovacic well after the duo worked together for two years at Stamford Bridge, is also keen to take him to the Bundesliga after taking over the Bavarians on Sunday.
Despite being handed the captain’s armband due to injuries to Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva, the 28-year-old could be on the move at the end of the season.
Following a free-spending campaign in January, the Blues may have to clear out their squad in the summer to balance the books, having recently reported a loss of £121 million.
Kovacic could fall victim to Chelsea’s need for cash, especially if the Londoners opt to step up their interest in West Ham United ace Declan Rice to strengthen their midfield.
As already stressed by David Moyes, the Hammers will demand north of £100m to sanction Rice’s departure, meaning Chelsea will have to raise significant funds.
Kovacic has had ups and downs since joining Chelsea from Real Madrid in 2018, but his technical qualities and tactical prowess have put him on the radar of Man City and Bayern.
Guardiola’s well-documented affection for technically gifted players has naturally brought the Croat to his attention, although it’s uncertain whether the Blues would be ready to send one of their stars to direct rivals.
The Cityzens can exploit Kovacic’s contractual wobble to prise him away from the Bridge in the summer, yet Tuchel is ready to spoil their plans and reunite with the ex-Inter Milan man at Bayern.
Midfield talent is bursting at the seams at the Allianz Arena, but with Leon Goretzka and Ryan Gravenberch blowing hot and cold this season, it’s no wonder the Germans are in the market for a new playmaker.
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