'Never been totally convinced': BBC pundit says he's been worried Chelsea isn't the right club for £40m star

Garth Crooks questioned whether or not Chelsea is still the correct team for Mateo Kovacic.

Kovacic earned inclusion into Crooks’ BBC Team of the Week thanks to his domination of Liverpool last weekend, a selection that had an Asterix over the top of it.

A Croatian creation

Admittedly, it’s taken a while for the midfielder to fully imprint his mark upon the Blues’ DNA following his permanent £40m (BBC) move from Real Madrid in 2019.

His first season under Maurizio Sarri hardly ripped the roof off Stamford Bridge.

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images


However, as the campaign have rolled by, the roof has gradually been ripped.

It was blasted into outer space on Sunday, following the 27-year-old’s awesome display at home to the Reds.

Kovacic cut through Liverpool’s midriff with repeated ease and looked in complete control of every situation passed up to him.

And that goal…

Super-Kova in the sky

His volley was a thing of almost undefinable beauty.

The way he took a step back, left the floor with both feet and still managed the precision and power to beat Caoimhin Kelleher defied several laws of physics.

Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

A strike worthy of winning a title, let alone a football match.

Unfortunately, Kovacic’s effort did neither, yet it was a timely reminder of how crucial he is and will be to Tuchel’s side.

Yet, Crooks still had reservations as to whether Chelsea and the Croatian international were the right fit.

“I’ve never been totally convinced that Chelsea was the right club for Mateo Kovacic but his performance against Liverpool was a bit special,” said the former Tottenham Hotspur striker.

“It wasn’t just his goal that was breath-taking but the way he pulled Chelsea back into the game and in the end might have won it for the Blues.

Photo by Harriet Lander – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

“He also formed an excellent midfield partnership with Kante.

“It would appear that Thomas Tuchel is getting the best out of the Croatian, which is more than could be said for Romelu Lukaku.”

Chelsea is the place to be

After four years as a Blue, seeing Kovacic in another’s colours would seem strange.

Luckily for the Chelsea family, the former Madrid man shouldn’t be swapping shirts anytime soon.

He is contracted until 2024 and surely a new deal is just on the horizon.

Don’t listen to Crooks, Mateo, South West London wants you here indefinitely.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.