Chelsea are closing on on the £45million signing of Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid - despite the club currently being under a transfer embargo.

The ban, which spans over two windows, prevents the Blues from registering new players by football's governing body, FIFA, until the summer of 2020.

Thus, anyone Chelsea look to bring in to replace the likes of Eden Hazard for example, will have to wait until the start of the 2020/21 campaign before pulling on the blue jersey.

However, loopholes are there to be exploited and the Premier League giants have done exactly that.

Kovacic, 25, spent last season on loan at Stamford Bridge as part of a swap deal which saw Thibaut Courtois heading to the Bernabeu on a permanent deal.

The option to buy clause was stipulated into that contract, something the Blues have indicated they will be taking up now.

With the transfer being viewed as an extension of Kovacic's contract, rather than a fresh registration, the Blues have the green light to secure the big-money deal.

However, a deal for Kovacic must be completed while he is still registered to the west London outfit, with his loan deal expiring on Saturday.

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