20 Midfielder Internazionale Croatia
2014 has been...
…at times just so, so pretty.
There is something utterly joyful about seeing Mateo Kovačić in full flow. It may be the fact he loves, and we mean *loves*, taking a man on and even more so if he can get him isolated one-on-one. It may be that he has a range of passing at a young age that suggests he’s got the sort of football brain needed to get to the very top of the game. It may be that for a little man he has absolutely no fear of opponent or occasion. It may be all of that rolled into one. In fact, that’s exactly what it is.
As Inter have lurched from the sublime to the ridiculous and base-lined at the deeply average, the bright spark has been Kovačić. Consistently talked up in the press by management and teammates, he already looks like carrying much of the weight of expectation of his team despite his tender years. He’s an exciting player to watch who is gradually achieving the one thing that it’s really difficult to teach, consistency, and while he may not be peaking week in and out he’s finding a level (usually one that exceeds his teammate’s) that makes him stand out.
This year he has found his physicality and made his sure his small stature can’t be shouldered off the ball or bullied out a game. Coupled with a centre of balance and a box of tricks that most don’t acquire till the peak of their career, this is a player who has found a home in our IBWM-shaped hearts.
We’re greedy, we want a bit more of everything. It’s no exaggeration to say on form he looks the real deal, but he must avoid getting dragged into the inconsistencies of his team. He needs to embrace responsibility, keep taking people on and continue to be as fearless as he has been up to this point. We would also love to see him score more and accordingly he already has two this season, which is two more than he scored the whole of last year.
Over the summer the transfer speculation was about par for a young player with this immense potential. He’s being linked with many of the usual suspects and Barcelona were moved to make a formal bid that was turned down. Inter have a star on their books and may find it impossible to keep him next summer if he continues to impress. Manchester United are said to be interested but that could be dependent on their Champion’s League qualification. Beyond those two Real, Man City and Bayern have all scouted a player who could be very gettable and we fear only a massive upturn in Inter’s fortunes could get him to sign the contract extension he’s been reportedly offered.
This is a player who will be playing at one of Europe’s biggest Champion’s League clubs sooner rather than later and has a chance at a world-class career. Already nearly twenty caps into his international career and with a World Cup under his belt, there are only big things on the horizon. “Little Genius” is not a nickname you get ironically, you keep playing and we’ll keep watching, we can promise you that.
“When Zvonimir Boban says Mateo Kovačić ‘has the potential to be better than me’ you pay attention and the Inter number 10 has not disappointed. A magician on the ball, he continually gets fans on the edge of their seat, a bright light shining despite his side’s obvious struggles” – Adam Digby
"Mateo Kovačić laid on three assists in May's 4-1 victory over Lazio. He was the only player to provide three assists in a single Serie A game last season." - OptaJoe
C+ Exciting, already key to Inter’s ambitions, another stop/start season from his club and they may not have him past the summer…
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