Chelsea ace Mateo Kovacic could join Zenit St Petersburg this summer.

Maurizio Sarri said last month that he wished to make Kovacic’s loan permanent. However, Sarri’s own position is in doubt and Chelsea will only be able to acquire Kovacic if their appeal to FIFA against a two-window transfer ban, which was heard last Thursday, results in the punishment being overturned or delayed.

The midfielder is on loan from Real Madrid this season, however, there is no option to buy in his contract.

And the Daily Mail say Kovacic’s agent held talks with Zenit this week over a possible move.

Kovacic has impressed at Chelsea this season, with Maurizio Sarri publicly revealing he hopes to keep the Croatia international at Stamford Bridge.

‘I want to try with Kovacic,’ said Sarri. ‘He is only on loan, of course, but I’d like very much that Kovacic will stay with us.

‘You know very well that, in that position, we have some problems because we have only Jorginho. In my opinion, Kovacic could become a very good central midfielder.’

It’s understood Zinedine Zidane is happy to allow Real Madrid to seek a permanent sale as he looks to use funds to overhaul his tired squad with Chelsea’s Eden Hazard top of his wishlist.

Kovacic has made 43 appearances and is favoured by Sarri but has failed to convince many at Stamford Bridge. He has started regularly in the Europa League and often alternated with Ross Barkley in midfield.

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