Liverpool trying to lure teenage Inter Milan playmaker Mateo Kovacic
Liverpool, 11/5 shots for the Premier League title with Coral, are set to launch an £8m early summer bid for disgruntled Inter Milan playmaker Mateo Kovacic.
The 19-year-old midfielder has completed a full 90 minutes just once for the Nerazzurri in Serie A just once in 2014, despite several promising displays this season. Kovacic is rumoured to be frustrated by his role as impact substitute for the blue half of the San Siro.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, a long-term admirer of the player, is set to capitalise on this by making an offer to take him off Inter’s hands. Speculation is rife in Italy that Kovacic has fallen out with Nerazzurri boss Walter Mazzarri.
His agent was coy on this subject, however. “Everybody is confused as to why Mateo is not playing,” he told reporters. “Is there a row with Mazzarri? I can’t say a lot, but he [Kovacic] is not happy.”
Capped eight times by Croatia so far, Kovacic is set to go to the World Cup in Brazil with his country, but is likely to be used in similar fashion off the bench there. His hopes of getting a starting spot in Niko Kovac’s XI look slim.
Senior players like Niko Kranjcar, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic have the tournament experience Kovacic is lacking. Fellow teenager and Dinamo Zagreb starlet Allen Halilovic, who is joining Barcelona this summer, may also be competing with him for a place on the plane.
Drawn in a tough group with tournament hosts and 3/1 favourites Brazil, Cameroon and Mexico, Croatia are expected to qualify from this pool at 11/10. Odds of 7/1 say they will pip Phil Scolari’s Samba Boys to top spot in Group A, and they are 125/1 to win the World Cup.
Rodgers and his rampant Liverpool team host Tottenham next. The Reds are odds-on for victory at 1/2 and look set to have the lure of Champions League football next season on offer for Kovacic, if he were to move to Anfield.