Football

Mateo Kovacic a waste of a buy for Real Madrid?

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You can guarantee two things every transfer window. The first is the surge of supposed 'in the know' posts on football forums and the second a 'will he, wont he' saga involving Real Madrid.

This year it's David de Gea. The Spaniard's likely move to the Spanish capital will drag on towards the close of the window on September 1, but Real have already quietly, by their aloof standards, brought in first team reinforcements. And that's where things get interesting.

Real business

Brazil international Danilo joined from FC Porto in a €31.5million deal and former Real youth goalkeeper Kiko Casilla returned to the club having made over 100 appearances for Espanyol.

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The intention with both signings is clear. Danilo will provide much needed competition for Dani Carvajal at right-back and Casilla adds depth to an underwhelming goalkeeping department.

But the marquee signing so far is Mateo Kovacic.

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Kovacic buy

The 21-year-old Croatian is an elegant possession-orientated midfielder whose ease on the ball brings defensive reassurance and calculated creative play in equal measure. He can play in a deep lying playmaker role or tucked in behind a central striker offering plenty of lateral movement.

It's a move befitting an eye-catching player who would bring unquestionable quality to any squad in Europe. Just ask Brendan Rodgers, who unsuccessfully tried to bring Kovacic to Liverpool this summer.

But where does the former Inter Milan man fit in a starting XI that already boasts his idol Luka Modric and Toni Kroos?

Surplus at Real?

Do Los Blancos need another player comfortable in possession but lacking lung-busting box-to-box credentials? And that's before factoring in that Real already have a young ball playing midfielder in Asier Illarramendi.

Maybe he's being reserved for the number 10 role. But is he likely to displace James Rodriguez, who chipped in with 13 league goals and 13 assists last season? Kovacic managed just a modest five goals in Serie A last term. Not to mention Isco's scraggy street football style, that offers a different dimension off the bench.

Benitez system

Under the stewardship of the stubborn Rafael Benitez and his devout faith in a rigid 4-2-3-1 formation, you wonder if such surroundings will allow the Croat to develop and fulfil his undoubted potential.

Marek Hamsik's struggle under Benitez at Napoli should serve as a stark warning to Kovacic. The Slovakian was one of the highest-rated midfielders in Europe but he struggled to adapt to the Spaniards tactical requirements and ended up warming the bench for many high-profile games.

Whatever the plan for Kovacic, he won't have much time to deliver. And even if he does, there's no guarantee that'll mean he'll be appreciated at the Bernabeu. Just ask Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil.

Real fans, do you think Kovacic made a mistake moving to Madrid? Let us know your thoughts on how he will settle in the comments box below.

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Topics:
Football
Real Madrid
Inter Milan

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