Chelsea are having second thoughts over whether to pursue a permanent deal for Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic, now that manager Maurizio Sarri appears set to leave the club.
Sarri has previously spoken of his wish to see Kovacic, who spent last season on loan at Stamford Bridge, move to Chelsea on a permanent basis, although the Italian is now widely expected to move to Juventus in the near future.
Given Sarri may not be in charge next season, the Evening Standard claim that Chelsea are unsure as to whether they want to sign Kovacic permanently, given he often struggled to impress on the left of Sarri's midfield trio.
Kovacic made 51 appearances for the Blues last season, but managed just two assists and failed to pose any real goal threat, leaving Chelsea fans wanting a lot more from the midfielder.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaced Kovacic in the lineup in the final stretch of the season, although his ruptured Achilles injury means he will likely be out of action for the remainder of 2019. As a result, the Blues may need a new midfielder, but their transfer ban has threatened to complicate that situation.
Even with the ban, Chelsea would be able to sign Kovacic permanently before the end of June, given he is already registered to the club after spending last season on loan there. However, even given his availability, many fans have pleaded for club officials to let Kovacic leave.
Real Madrid don't want him back, so Inter have joined the race to sign Kovacic. The Croatian midfielder spent 18 months at the San Siro before moving to Madrid in 2015, and it is thought that he has already committed to a return to Inter to link up with Antonio Conte.
The report adds that Chelsea are prepared to consider both Tiemoue Bakayoko and Mason Mount for the vacant midfield role, after the pair impressed on their respective loans with Milan and Derby County.
One player who is not under consideration is Danny Drinkwater, who the Blues will try and ship off this summer after a less-than-impressive spell at Stamford Bridge.