Bayern Munich manager Thomas Tuchel has made Mateo Kovacic his top transfer target and Chelsea are willing to sanction a sale, according to reports.
The 49-year-old was appointed last month as Bayern axed Julian Nagelsmann, with the club’s hierarchy having become concerned that their treble hopes were at huge risk.
But Tuchel has lost as many games as his predecessor had all campaign, exiting the DFB-Pokal Cup and Champions League as well as sacrificing top spot in the Bundesliga after Mainz defeat.
According to Bild, Tuchel is not happy with the squad he has inherited and is thinking about reinforcements for next season.
Among his concerns is the midfield position, with the German keen to sign a new number six who can sit in front of the defence, provide tenacity in the tackle as well as protecting and carrying the ball.
Although Bayern have wrapped up a deal for RB Leizpigs’s Konrad Laimer, he does not fit the profile Tuchel is looking for – but he knows a player who would be the right option.
Tuchel remains a big fan of Kovacic from their time together at Stamford Bridge and feels he is the ideal signing to sit in front of the defence.
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Moreover, Chelsea are willing to allow the Croatia international leave this summer and are conscious of the fact he just has a year left on his contract.
Incoming manager Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, has made a new number six one of his own main targets, which suggests he is not planning to stick with Kovacic.
In general, Chelsea are facing pressure to sell players this summer and raise funds for more investment, with their £600m outlay in the last year curbing their spending power now – and leaving them with a bloated squad.
Tuchel will discuss a move for Kovacic with sporting directors Hasan Salihamidzic and Marco Neppe closer to the end of the campaign and listen to any suggestions they might have.