Manchester City are reportedly eyeing up a move for Chelsea star Mateo Kovacic with the midfielder set to enter the final 12 months of his contract this summer.

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Kovacic, 28, has been an integral member for the Blues ever since joining from Real Madrid in 2018, racking up 207 appearances in all competitions.

He has also won 91 caps for Croatia and has been a key part of Zlatko Dalic’s side in their memorable second and third placed finishes in the last two World Cups.

However, he is one of a number of Chelsea players with a contract expiring in 2024 and – following the departures of defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen at the end of their deals on free transfers last summer – the new Todd Boehly-led regime are determined to avoid scenarios where players enter the final year of their contracts.

Upon taking over, the Blues ownership inherited a situation where Thiago Silva, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho were all heading into the last 12 months of their contracts.

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Jorginho was sold to Arsenal for £12m in January, while Silva penned a new deal and Kante is expected to follow suit over the next few weeks.

And, according to the Telegraph, the situation with Kovacic has alerted Man City with Pep Guardiola understood to be a big fan of the Croatian midfielder.

There is expected to be a renewal of the midfield at the Etihad this summer, with the futures of Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan uncertain – both players have been linked with Barcelona – while it remains to be seen what happens with Kalvin Phillips, with the former Leeds star having badly struggled for minutes since his £45m summer move.

City are also one of a number of clubs keen on a move for Jude Bellingham, but they are not reported to be the front-runners for the English wonderkid.

The 19-year-old has attracted interest from Liverpool, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Chelsea among others.

However, the report states that Guardiola’s side could sign more than one midfielder in the summer and Kovacic would likely be available for a reasonable price given his age and contract situation if he doesn’t extend his current deal.

He could also be seen as a top class alternative for Bellingham if they are unsuccessful in their pursuit of the Borussia Dortmund star.

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There is further intrigue to the speculation given that City were interested in the 28-year-old before he moved to Chelsea, initially on loan in 2018, then penning a permanent deal worth £40m the following season.

Guardiola also was seen in conversation with the midfielder after City beat Chelsea 1-0 earlier this year in a game which he had starred in.

Similarly, after moving to Stamford Bridge in the summer, former City star Raheem Sterling also revealed that Kovacic was the player who caught his eye the most whenever he came up against Chelsea.

The Blues are understood to be aware of the situation regarding Kovacic – who has appeared 23 times in all competitions this season – but missed Sunday’s dismal 2-0 defeat to Tottenham through injury.

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