European champions Real Madrid have today confirmed that they received an offer from Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur for midfielder Mateo Kovacic during the summer.
Since his move to the Bernabeu from Inter Milan in the summer of 2015, Croatian international Kovacic has endured an up-and-down spell with Los Blancos, finding himself confined to the bench for much of his stint in the Spanish capital.
However, following just 8 La Liga starts during his debut campaign with the club, the 23-year-old went on to solidify himself as an important member of Zinedine Zidane’s squad last season, starting 19 league outings for the eventual Spanish champions.
A number of increasingly impressive displays were backed up by a sensational pre-season for Kovacic, with the classy midfielder having started and starred in Real’s ‘friendly’ victory over fierce rivals Barcelona in Miami, as well as both of their Super Cup wins over the Blaugrana.
However, with Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro already to contend with at the Bernabeu, and Real having beaten a host of top clubs to the signing of Spanish midfield prodigy Dani Ceballos during the summer, several European giants were linked with moves for Kovacic.
The likes of Juventus, AC Milan, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham were all rumoured to have expressed an interest in the 23-year-old, with Blancos general director Jose Angel Sanchez confirming today that the latter of these sides actually tabled an official offer for Kovacic during the summer:
‘Kovacic is not for sale, we will never sell him,’ he told Sportske Novosti.
‘If there are any offers for him in January, we will reject them. Last summer there were a lot of offers and questions about him.’
‘Juventus and AC Milan didn’t send offers, but Inter must have sent one. There was one from England, it was Tottenham.’
‘Mateo is a smart guy, he knows he would have played in the starting XI in each of those teams that want him but he is aware we count on him too.’
‘He is one of the players the club’s future relies on.’