Real Madrid have won the race for Inter Milan starlet Mateo Kovacic.
A £25m deal has been confirmed and Rafa Benitez may well throw him straight into the team that plays Sporting Gijon in Los Blancos' season opener.
It's not a move that hasn't met with universal approval with former Inter striker Luis Suarez telling Gazetta Dello Sport: "Mateo had to become the focal point of Inter’s future. When you saw him play, you could tell he was on another level compared to the others.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay5
Article continues below
"The player needed team-mates at a higher level that could help him grow, but instead he found himself as a leader of 20-years-old, and (he had to) assume responsibilities that were too big so that his flaws have been magnified and his productivity disappeared."
Inter's evident loss is certainly Real's gain. The 20-year-old is already a gem of a player who has been courted by Liverpool and Barcelona amongst others.
Article continues below
It's highly likely that Benitez was hooked whilst manager of Napoli and once seeing the player at first hand.
In the mood
A mixture of elegance, composure and dynamism underscore his natural game and when he's in the mood, the Croatian is as good as any in his position...when he's in the mood.
Perhaps the one criticism of the player is his lack of consistency. There's little doubting that he has the talent to be world class, he just doesn't bring it to the table often enough.
That said, he has been deployed in far too many positions during his tenure at Inter. Deep-lying playmaker, attacker, trequartista and a left winger. Kovacic has played them all.
How on earth is a player that is still just 21 meant to find his niche when he is being hawked around to such an extent?
Benitez will surely have earmarked a role for him and once fully settled in the Spanish capital, we should begin to see what all of the fuss is about.
But is Real really the best place for him to produce the quality that he is known to possess?
It leaves huge question marks as to Isco's future. Another young midfield diamond that has found it extremely difficult to force his way into the midfield at the club, at the expense of either Luka Modric, Toni Kroos or James Rodriguez.
Arguably Kovacic will be met with much the same dilemma.
A dilemma which he is clearly not keen on after he criticised Inter manager Roberto Martinez for suggesting that a consistently high level of performance was beyond him.
Consistency that only comes from playing regularly was the jist of Kovacic's ire. He has a point.
Had he stayed in Italy, he wouldn't have started Inter's first match of the season, continuing the trend from last season where he only managed 26 starts.
If Benitez does indeed give him his bow, is he brave enough to keep him there at the expense of any one of the three mentioned above?
A player who infuriates and delights in equal measure, Madridistas will love him one minute and hate him the next.
Not really the type of environment for a player still learning his trade.