Mateo Kovacic has revealed he recommended Chelsea to Croatian team-mate Josko Gvardiol during the club’s record-breaking spending spree over the summer.
New Blues owner Todd Boehly spent more than £250m on signings over the summer, bringing the likes of Raheem Sterling, Wesley Fofana, Kalidou Koulibaly and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have also expressed interest in RB Leipzig defender Gvardiol and spoke to Kovacic about his compatriot as they considered a move for the £77m-valued star.
“At the club they asked me about Josko, I said all the best to them,” said Kovacic ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League opener against Dinamo Zagreb in his native Croatia.
“I don’t need to say anything about his football, you know what kind of player he is and his character is excellent.
“I saw with the national team how eager he is to play, he has a great career ahead of him and I hope that one day we will play together at club.”
Kovacic and Gvardiol both started their careers at Dinamo Zagreb, with Kovacic playing at Inter Milan and Real Madrid before joining Chelsea in 2019 and Gvardiol joining Leipzig a year later.
Kovacic missed the start of the season through injury but has featured in Chelsea’s last three games, starting with Saturday’s 2-1 win over London rivals West Ham.
Regarding his fitness problems, Kovacic said: “I’m better, I had some problems with my knee after the national team and the preseason.
“It was a tough pre-season for me but I’m recovered now and getting better every day. I need to regain my match fitness, but that’s what games and training are for. So I look forward to getting better every day.”
Kovacic also warned his Chelsea team-mates will face a “difficult” opening Champions League game as they look to return from Zagreb with three points.
He added: “Dinamo is growing day by day. The work here is phenomenal, I know that from experience.
“It will be difficult to play for Maksimir tomorrow, it won’t be easy. I hope we will be ready.’
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