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Chelsea completed the loan of Croatia international Mateo Kovacic on Thursday after having previously reached an agreement with Real Madrid on his season-long move.

Kovacic, who moved as part of the deal that sent goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to Madrid, will help manager Maurizio Sarri round out the squad as the “midfielder with different characteristics” he said he wanted earlier this week.

The 24-year-old appeared in five games for Croatia during the World Cup but refused to rejoin Madrid this season, which would have been his fourth, because he knew his first-team opportunities would again be limited.


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“I am really happy and excited to be here at Chelsea,” Kovacic said in a statement. “It is an amazing feeling. 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 teammates will help me and I am looking forward to a great season.”

Kovacic’s move comes as part of a midfield overhaul for Chelsea, with Jorginho following Sarri from Napoli earlier this summer. It could also lead to the exit of Tiemoue Bakayoko, who was signed from Monaco a year ago but has been linked to a loan to AC Milan.

The loan is the second addition Chelsea have made in the days leading up to the Premier League transfer deadline following the signing of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to replace Courtois on Wednesday.


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