Ahead of Frank’s Lampard impending arrival as the club’s new manager, Chelsea have agreed a deal with Mateo Kovacic despite the club’s transfer ban. The Blues are expected to announce former player Lampard as the replacement for Maurizio Sarri who left the club for Juventus at the end of the season.
The Blues have been banned for two windows for breaching the rules and regulations underage overseas players, although they have denied any wrongdoing and plan to appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration of Sport.
However, the ban does not apply to the Mateo Kovacic as he’s already registered with the club. The Croatian international joined the Blues on loan last season but Chelsea have the option to make it permanent. Although previous reports suggest the former Inter Milan player will be returning to Madrid following Sarri’s departure to Juventus.
There were doubts if incoming he will fit into the plans of Lampard, but reports have now emerged that the former Manchester City player rates him highly and has urged Chelsea to make the deal permanent.
Lampard’s who is currently the manager of Derby has been given permission by the Rams to speak with the Pensioners over their vacant managerial position. Although he faces the prospect of not being able to sign any player due to Chelsea’s transfer ban, he will be able to count on Kovacic who’s likely to be his lone signing.
It means Kovacic will get another chance to win over the Matthew Harding and Shed End faithful, who were left bemused by how little impact he made in matches. But there is sure to be a casualty in midfield as a result, with the Blues’ squad bursting at the seams and Lampard expected to continue with Sarri’s 4-3-3 shape. Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are sure to be in the first-team squad next season.
While Mason Mount and Tiemoue Bakayoko will also be pushing for involvement in Lampard’s plans. But with Kovacic set to stay, it’s likely that one of them will not be playing for Chelsea next term. Kovacic became a crucial part of Maurizio Sarri’s side, making 51 appearances as the club secured qualification for the Champions League with a third-place finish in the Premier League and then triumphed over Arsenal in the Europa League final.
But the agreement means the midfielder could be become the first official signing of the Frank Lampard era, as the Blues are also close to appointing Derby County boss as a replacement for Sarri. Blues legend Lampard, 41, is in discussions regarding a return to Chelsea, a club where he made 648 appearances and remains their club record scorer with 211 goals. He guided Derby to the playoffs last season but missed out on promotion to Aston Villa in the final last month.