The 19-year-old joined the Nerazzurri 12 months ago from Dinamo Zagreb for £10 million as one of Europe’s top midfield prospects.
Able to play as either an advanced or deep-lying playmaker, he’s been shuttled around the pitch since moving to San Siro and is yet to completely settle.
Manchester United have been linked with a move for his services in January, having previously scouted the Croatian and requiring reinforcements in midfield.
However, Inter legend Tarcisio Burgnich recently pointed to the case of Coutinho in advising the Milanese giants to keep hold of the teenager.
And it seems coach Mazzarri may be heeding the 74-year-old’s counsel, speaking of Kovacic’s progress in his Sunday presser.
“I think Kovacic is growing as I want,” he said. “He’s making great strides not only for himself, but for the benefit of the team.
“Those are the things that make a talent, and I’m confident that he’ll continue to grow in the second half of the season.”
Ricky Alvarez may be keeping Kovacic out of the first team on a regular basis, but Mazzarri looks to know the delicate nature of nurturing the midfielder.
The Italian’s comments seem to point to a desire to keep the 19-year-old at San Siro, rather than see him off prematurely to witness his eventual success elsewhere.
Certainly the potential for a move from United hasn’t been killed off by any stretch of the imagination, but the operation may be more difficult than previously perceived.
image: © batrax