Mateo Kovacic says he is “looking forward to a great season” after his season-long loan move from Real Madrid to Chelsea was confirmed on deadline day.
The Croatia international arrives as part of a deal that sealed Thibaut Courtois’ switch to the European champions and the midfielder could make his debut in Saturday’s Premier League opener against Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Kovacic arrives at Stamford Bridge off the back of a positive 2018 World Cup campaign as his country lost to France in the final and he will be hoping to keep that momentum going on the domestic stage.
The 24-year-old is expected to get regular playing time for the Blues, having made just 37 La Liga starts during his three years at the Santiago Bernabeu, and a positive season could result in a permanent switch to London.
Reacting to his temporary move, Kovacic says he is delighted to be joining the former Premier League champions and is ready to test his skills in England’s top flight.
“I am really happy and excited to be here at Chelsea. It is an amazing feeling,” he told the club’s official website. “I will try to do my best for this club. It is a new league for me, the beginning is always tough but I am sure the coach and my new team-mates will help me and I am looking forward to a great season.”
Chelsea also confirmed the signing of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao for £71million – a world record for a goalkeeper and a new club-record transfer.
The 23-year-old has been brought in as a replacement for Courtois and the Spain international is expected to make his debut against the Terriers on Saturday.
New manager Maurizio Sarri has brought in four new faces this summer, with ex-England keeper Rob Green and midfielder Jorginho the other two arrivals.