With Real Madrid having set their eyes on Eden Hazard as their top priority for the future, it looks like Chelsea are ready to make a demand of their own.

Ever since being sent away on loan, Mateo Kovacic has thrived at Stamford Bridge, making the most of the minutes his boss Maurizio Sarri has handed him after struggling to establish himself as a part of Real Madrid’s starting XI during Zinedine Zidane’s tenure.

So, now that Zidane is back in town and Los Blancos are trying to make a run at Hazard, it looks like Maurizio Sarri wants to keep Mateo Kovacic under his command for the long run and the Croatian would be thrilled with the opportunity of having consistent playing time.

As a matter of fact, Sarri had nothing but praise for the midfielder when talking about Chelsea’s tough stretch ahead in the season, going as far to state that he’d love him to extend beyond this season when asked whether he was keen to sign a midfielder to compete with Jorginho for the defensive midfielder spot:

“You know very well that, in that position, we have some problems because we have only Jorginho. In my opinion, Kovacic could become a very good central midfielder. Of course, he is not a defensive midfielder (at the moment) but, as you know, in that position I prefer a very technical player. In the last match, Jorginho touched 161 balls. So, for us, it’s very important for us to have big quality in that position. Big quality not for the last pass, but big quality in terms of moving the ball (…) I want to try with Kovacic. He is only on loan, of course, but I’d like very much that Kovacic will stay with us.” Sarri told the Telegraph.

Los Blancos are willing to meet Chelsea’s £100million asking price for Hazard, but they will try and make the most of one of the Croatian to see if they can pay a lower fee for his services.

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