Martin Keown claims Chelsea wouldn’t have taken Mateo Kovacic on loan if Maurizio Sarri knew how good Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were


Chelsea have been in inspired form under manager Maurizio Sarri this season, and are unbeaten after 10 English Premier League games.

The Italian boss made few additions to the squad upon his arrival.

Sarri came along with Jorginho from Napoli, Mateo Kovacic arrived on a season-long loan from Real Madrid, while Kepa Arrizabalaga came in from Athletic Bilbao, becoming the most expensive goalkeeper in history.

The trio have all hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge, but the Croatian hasn’t been able to lay claim to a permanent berth, and with the duo of Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek starting to impress, it promises to be a keen contest for playing minutes in Chelsea’s midfield.

Former Arsenal star Martin Keown, however, believes Sarri would have never signed Kovacic if he knew how good the aforementioned English duo were.

“I honestly believe that had Maurizio Sarri known just how good Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were, Chelsea would not have taken Mateo Kovacic on loan,” Keown wrote in his Daily Mail column.

“It’s nice problem for Sarri to have. You cannot drop N’Golo Kante so there are three players fighting for one midfield berth.

“If Chelsea had to make a choice between Kovacic and Loftus-Cheek, I would rather send Kovacic back to Real Madrid than send Loftus-Creek out on loan.”

Kovacic left Madrid in search of regular playing time, with the trio of Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric all ahead of him in the pecking order.

However, the three-time Champions League winner remains one of the best in his positions, and it remains unknown why Keown claims Loftus-Cheek and Barkley are better.

Although the former Everton midfielder has three goals and three league assists, while Kovacic has only assisted once, the Croatian offers more mobility.

It is why he has played more minutes than the two Englishmen, and why Sarri might still prefer him to them.

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