Aubameyang a ‘proper striker’ and can turn Chelsea in title challengers, says Kovacic after £12m transfer from Barcelona
MATEO KOVACIC claims Chelsea finally have a “proper” striker in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
And the Croatian midfield ace prays it will transform his team into title contenders — instead of also-rans.
Chelsea’s struggle to find a centre-forward capable of handling English football — and the pressure of being at one of Europe’s top clubs — coincided with them fading as a domestic force.
Although Kovacic is focused on European action tonight back at the club where he started his career, he has his eyes set on title glory with ex-Arsenal star Aubameyang.
The Gabon striker, 33, has just joined from Barcelona for £12million.
And ahead of a Champions League Group E opener against Dinamo Zagreb, Kovacic, 28, said: “I can say he will be a big addition to us.
“He is a proper striker and scorer, which we have missed in the last few years.
“We haven’t had someone that scores 20-25 goals per season, which you obviously need to win the title.
“For him, it is normal to score goals and I hope he will do it here at Chelsea.
“I haven’t seen him in training yet but he trained yesterday with the team — and he is a great player.
FREE BETS AND SIGN UP DEALS – BEST NEW CUSTOMER OFFERS
“He has scored goals everywhere, so we are looking forward to having him in our squad and he will be a big addition.”
Chelsea have not won the league since bad-boy Diego Costa was at the club in 2017.
The brooding striker’s successors Alvaro Morata, Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku all flopped.
And the Blues have ended up finishing fifth, third, fourth, fourth and third since being crowned champions under Antonio Conte.
Kovacic has won the Champions League and Europa League since joining first on loan in 2018.
But every player covets success over 38 games in the hardest league in the world.
The dynamic midfielder will be a big part of that from now on as he recovers from a knee injury which has been bothering him since pre-season.
Austria-born, he will receive a warm welcome here this evening as a returning legend who started life at Dinamo Zagreb.
He then embarked on a tour of Europe’s elite teams — including Real Madrid and Inter Milan as well as Chelsea.
Stamford Bridge boss Thomas Tuchel said: “Kova is a fantastic player of course, but on top of it he is also a fantastic person in personality. Such an unbelievably good team player.
“It is a pleasure to be his coach and a pleasure for everyone to be his team-mate.
“It is important to have him with us. He is very emotional and very happy to be back here.
“It is his city, his country for which he plays with a lot of pride. We are happy that he is now back.
“He is finding his shape and we are happy he is back on the pitch training.”
Kovacic’s influence at Blues is growing off the pitch and on it.
He revealed chairman Todd Boehly picked his brains about trying to sign fellow Croat defender Josko Gvardiol, 20, from RB Leipzig during the summer window.
Chelsea had an £80m offer rejected but Kovacic hopes he can still be reunited with his international team-mate at club level.
Kovacic said: “At the club they asked me about Josko — I told them all the best.
“I don’t need to say anything about his football, they know just what kind of a player he is, and his character is excellent.
“He has a great career ahead of him and I hope we’ll play together in the club.”
CHELSEA (likely): Mendy, Azpilicueta, Koulibaly, Fofana, James, Kovacic, Jorginho, Cucurella, Mount, Havertz, Sterling.
Comments are closed.