EA Sports Fifa has recently began giving out their “Too Soon Team of the Year” cards and it finally gave me some closure on what I thought was a major bias. Mateo Kovacic is a top midfielder in the league, and his argument for top 5 box to box midfielder is gaining traction. When I would say this before it seemed like a hard argument since he couldn’t get heavy minutes with Chelsea, but Lampard has grown to trust dare I even say rely on the Croatian. With Kante taking less of a role due to injury and Lampards style Kovacic has shined. He is a midfielder that does all the dirty work that won’t show up on the stat sheet. Seeing this card really almost brought me to tears as I realized the world was finally seeing what I saw.
Now I know it is just FIFA, but this is never going to hurt my argument. I have been adamant for a while now that Kovacic would thrive in the Premier League. After his time at Madrid where he showed tons of promise, but failed to break into the starting XI with Kroos and Modric in their prime he looked elsewhere. Thats when the magic happened after a season loan he fell for the blues, and for 49.5 million that was an absolute bargain. A man that can play any role in the midfield, I would put him anywhere in the 6-10. He gets it done on the defensive side with physicality, he gets it done offensively with his dribbling ability, not to mention his ability to strike a ball. Whether its’s a long ball, or a volley he has been playing at too high of a level for years now to not strike it well. After going with Croatia all the way to the World Cup final, and winning the UCL with Madrid he has shown his talent on every big stage.
He may not bring the sexy stats like goals and assists, but he shines in many other statistics you need from a central midfielder. Through the 19/20 season he is at 90% pass accuracy…. The only man ahead of him currently is Toni Kroos with 92%. He has 1 less interception than Fabinho, better tackle success rate than Fabinho, and an 86% dribble success. Now these may all seem like meaningless stats for you, but that just means you probably play forward. This man is a work horse in the middle, he covers passing lanes, he gets stuck in, he dances around defenders, and he rarely turns it over. All this and he is only 25 years old still, old enough to lead, but young enough to come up with the new Chelsea era. For now I will just enjoy the shine he rightfully deserves and thank GOD we got him for a measly 49 million.
Written by: Johnny Walker (@TFTJohnny)