Report: Real Madrid refuse to sell midfielder Mateo Kovacic to Liverpool or Everton

Real Madrid's Mateo Kovacic (L) in action against Shakhtar Donetsk's Fred

Mateo Kovacic made just 25 La Liga appearances in his first season at the Bernabeu, with Liverpool, Everton and West Ham reportedly keen to bring him to England.

Real Madrid's Mateo Kovacic (L) in action against Shakhtar Donetsk's Fred

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is keen to keep hold of midfielder Mateo Kovacic despite reported interest from Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton, the Marca reports.

The Croatia international struggled for game time at the Santiago Bernabeu in his first season after arriving from Inter Milan, the presence of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro, James Rodriguez and Isco (below) limiting him to just eight La Liga starts.

Real Madrid's Isco cuts the net from the goalposts after winning the UEFA Champions League

According to the Daily Star, a move to the Premier League had been interesting Kovacic, who is renowned by his explosive forward bursts and ability to drive from box-to-box.

The 22-year-old (below) prefers to play at a high tempo and therefore struggled at times to adapt to the methodical pace of the Spanish game.

Picture Supplied by Action Images

However, despite interest from Everton, West Ham, Liverpool and Roma, Marca are reporting that the Champions League winners have refused to sanction the sale of a player they believe will develop into one of Europe’s best midfielders.

Kovacic has yet to nail down a specific position at Real, having been deployed as a deep-lying playmaker, inverted winger and an orthodox number 10 while at Inter.

However, his energetic fluidity and aggressive attacking would have made him an exciting proposition for Jurgen Klopp and Ronald Koeman (below), both of whom favour a full-blooded, high-tempo approach.

Everton manager Ronaldo Koeman

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch