Mateo Kovacic has handed Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri a massive boost by saying he can imagine himself staying at west London on a permanent deal.

The Blues secured Kovacic on a season-long loan from Real Madrid in a deal that also saw Thibaut Courtois go the other way. Maurizio Sarri was keen on adding the Croatian to his midfield options and Kovacic has repaid the faith shown to him by the Italian with his steady performances in the middle of the pitch.

Despite not getting on to full gear just yet, he has shown great link-up play with Eden Hazard in the Blues’ left flank in the four Premier League matches he has started so far. With Sarri having recently expressed his wish to make the Croatian’s switch to west London permanent, Kovacic has revealed he is currently not thinking about his long-term future, before suggesting he is open to the idea of staying at Stamford Bridge beyond the current campaign.

“It is too early and I have to respect my contract with Real Madrid,” said the Croatian international midfielder. “But for now I’m really happy with Chelsea. The city is amazing. The fans are great. The stadium, everything is nice. I could imagine myself [staying] here.

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Kovacic also opened up about his struggles during his last two seasons at Madrid, where he was in and out of the starting lineup under then head coach Zinedine Zidane. Los Merengues were adamant to keep the versatile Croatian last summer but following multiple talks with the club, Kovacic finally got his wish of moving on to gain more minutes on the pitch.

“After two years of struggling in Madrid, playing and not playing, it was difficult. You don’t have confidence, you don’t try things you know. This year was my final decision to go,” continued the 24-year-old, who also said that Luka Modric, his teammate at Real Madrid as well as in the national team, is now happy with his choice to leave the Spanish capital after having initially expressed disappointment upon hearing the news.

“Chelsea came and I spoke with the coach so it was definitely for me just Chelsea so I wanted to come here. In the end I’m happy that it happened. This year I looked only at myself and this is what I need. He [Modric] obviously was happy for me that I got what I wanted.”