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Mateo Kovacic joined Chelsea on loan last season from Real Madrid, and Chelsea had the option to sign the Croatian international after the end of his loan spell.
Interestingly, Kovacic didn’t really impress under Maurizio Sarri last season despite being a key player for the Blues, and not many fans would have wanted the club to sign him up permanently.
However, Chelsea were left with no choice but to sign Kovacic on a permanent deal due to the transfer ban placed on the club, and the former Real Madrid midfielder has turned out to be a very massive player for the club this season.
Kovacic has improved massively under Frank Lampard, and his partnership with Jorginho has been hailed from every corner.
See stats comparing Kovacic’s last season’s performance with his performance this season.
According to the official Premier League website, Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic is the best central midfielder in the Premier League when it comes to dribbling.
The Croatian international has completed 26 of his 34 attempted take-ons with a 76.5 per cent success rate, outperforming all other midfielders with more than 17 dribbles to their name.
Meanwhile, Kovacic has credited his performance this season to the free role he’s enjoying under Frank Lampard.
Kovacic had said: “The manager has given me more freedom to get up and support the attacks, I can collect the ball and drive forward. I feel good, I have a great connection with the manager and his coaching team and of course with my team-mates.
“I feel better to be a Chelsea player, compared to last season when I was only on loan. I feel more confident, I’m more relaxed because I know this is my home now and I feel really good.
“I think I can still show more in my play because I know I can still improve for the team, but overall I’m very happy.”