Chelsea are finally set to put an end to their managerial stalemate after the Napoli president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, claimed a double deal for Maurizio Sarri and midfielder Jorginho to move to Stamford Bridge is close.
The Italian had two contrasting campaigns at the helm and has now vacated his post.
Kovacic has made 109 appearances in his three seasons at Madrid, winning the Champions League three times, but with countryman Luka Modric occupying one of Europe's best midfields, has not yet been able to command a regular starting place.
That success was helped by prolific striker Diego Costa, who scored 20 goals and provided eight assists.
It is said they feel Sarri will be a refreshing change for players used to Conte's brutal training demands.
It is a surprise that it has taken so long for any news to break on Chelsea's new manager. They eventually stuttered to a fifth-placed finish in the league, which has led to Conte's departure even though he did clinch the FA Cup title.
The Italian transformed the London club from also-rans to champions in his first season in charge but he's now been given his marching orders.
Chesea have agreed a two-year deal with an option of a third with Sarri and only an agreement with Napoli seems to hold the deal back. He had been replaced in Naples by Carlo Ancelotti but not released from his contract, forcing the London club to pay a fee to secure him.
This one is the most likely to go through and would certainly get the Chelsea fans excited ahead of the new Premier League season.
Chelsea have also been in talks to sign midfielder Aleksandr Golovin from CSKA Moscow, defender Daniele Rugani from Juventus and goalkeeper Alisson Becker from Roma. There is a chance that an interest may be reignited with Sarri's arrival though, as he has been such a crucial part of his Napoli team over the past few seasons.