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Mateo Kovacic joined Chelsea on loan for the rest of the season as part of the deal that took Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid.

Kovacic struggled for game time while at Real Madrid but he has made 12 appearances since joining Chelsea during the summer.

A report on Daily Star claims Chelsea have no plans to keep Kovacic past this season.

Kovacic, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are fighting for just one spot in midfield with N’Golo Kante and Jorginho sure of their place in Chelsea’s three-man midfield.

Pundit Martin Keown believes Sarri would not have signed Kovacic had he known how good Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley are.

“I honestly believe that had Maurizio Sarri known just how good Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were, Chelsea would not have taken Mateo Kovacic on loan,” Keown said.

“It’s nice problem for Sarri to have. You cannot drop N’Golo Kante so there are three players fighting for one midfield berth.

“If Chelsea had to make a choice between Kovacic and Loftus-Cheek, I would rather send Kovacic back to Real Madrid than send Loftus-Creek out on loan.

“Barkley is one of the best players [England] have produced in terms of technical ability.

“I will never forget the first time I saw him play. He was on loan at Sheffield Wednesday and I spent the whole match trying to work out if he was right or left-footed.

“He took one corner with his right, then later in the game took one from the other side of the pitch with his left.

“But talent can only get you so far. Now, the penny has dropped for him. He knows how to get the best from that talent. He knows where he needs to be on the pitch to maximise his ability.

“Maurizio Sarri is getting the best from him by playing him in an advanced midfield role. It suits all of his qualities and gets him into the final third often so he can work his magic.”

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