With Santi Cazorla linked with a move away from the club this summer, another player has been linked as his replacement.
The player in question is Inter Milan’s Croatian 20-year-old attacking midfielder and long-term Arsenal linkee Mateo Kovacic who has been attracting major interest from Europe’s top clubs after moving to Inter Milan for £9m in2013.
With Inter Milan very unlikely to get a Champions League place, reports have been circulating that Inter could well look to cash in on a few of their players and with a rumoured price tag of around £20m, Kovacic is being mentioned as one of the players that Inter would look at selling.
Kovacic is not the first attacking midfielder to be linked with Arsenal as a replacement for Cazorla in recent days with Hoffenheim’s Roberto Firmino, Dortmund’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Leverkusen’s Hakan Calhanoglu all being mentioned as potential Arsenal targets.
So it’s clear that the media at least is building up a shortlist for Arsenal.
At just 20 years of age though, Mateo Kovacic is the youngest player on the list but despite his age he has still scored eight goals in all competitions for a struggling Inter side this season and also provided two assists.
In terms of value for money and potential, Kovacic is probably high on most club’s wanted lists – so it’s not a surprise that Arsenal are said to be interested.
There is no question that Arsenal will have watched Kovacic, especially as they were already watching him when he played for Dinamo Zagreb, but where Arsenal seem to have a couple of clear targets in other positions (Schneiderlin, Dragovic and Subotic for instance), it’s hard to see a clear front-runner to replace Santi Cazorla in an attacking midfield role from the recent links.
I don’t doubt that Arsenal do have potential replacements in mind if Cazorla’s future is in doubt.
All of the recent links make sense, the players fit the Arsenal mould and I could see all of them playing for the club but I’m not convinced yet that any of them are ‘THE’ target as not enough information has really come to light about any of their situations.
Confusingly though, Kovacic only signed a new contract in January – so unless something is contained within that deal that would allow him to leave for a set fee in the summer if Inter didn’t qualify for the Champions League or there has been an internal issue with his attitude or performance since then, it’s hard to understand the logic behind a new deal if Inter wanted to go ahead and sell him.
Still, contract issue aside Kovacic is at the top of the list (so far) for me.