“I could imagine myself” World Cup hero wants to play for Chelsea next season

Mateo Kovacic has hinted he could imagine himself staying at Chelsea for the long haul.

Kovacic joined Chelsea this summer from 13-time European champions Real Madrid.

The 24-year-old who spoke after Chelsea’s 0-0 draw at the London Stadium, endured a difficult campaign at the Bernabeu since joining from Inter Milan in 2015.

The Croatian midfielder who’s appearances dropped to 21 last season, from 27 in the 2016-17 La Liga campaign, has managed to nail down a spot in the midfield berth of Sarri’s squad.

Widely known for his powerful drive and quick dribbles, Kovacic, a part of a swap deal for former Chelsea keeper and Golden Globe recipient Thibaut Courtois, has been a crux in Chelsea’s three-pronged midfield.

The 24-year-old has made five appearances for Chelsea this season from five matches, igniting a spark of tight competition between other options–Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Despite hinting he saw a long term career in Chelsea, he pleaded that “it is too early” to conclude.

Kovacic said: “It is too early and I have to respect my contract with Real Madrid. But for now I’m really happy with Chelsea. The city is amazing. The fans are great. The stadium, everything is nice. I could imagine myself [staying] here.”

Chelsea do not have an option to buy, but a deal could easily be negotiated to seal his switch if he exceeds expectations under Sarri.