It was difficult to tell whether Tottenham Hotspur were genuinely interested in Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic or whether the endless speculation was merely baseless paper talk designed to fill the never-ending Spanish daily gossip columns.
Don Ballon claimed that the Croatian was open to the idea of leaving Real after struggling to break into the first-team while AS reported in July that Spurs saw a £22 million bid rejected.
But according to Madrid’s general director Jose Angel Sanchez, the reports were indeed true – Spurs did make an offer for Kovacic in the summer transfer window. But he has made it very clear that Mauricio Pochettino should not get his hopes up.
"Kovacic is not for sale, we will never sell him!" Sanchez told Sportske Novosti. "If there are any offers for him in January, we will reject them. Last summer there were a lot of offers and questions about him.
"Juventus and AC Milan didn't send offers, but Inter must have sent one. There was one from England, it was Tottenham."
A dynamic central midfielder capable of driving forward from deep and sparking thrilling counter attacks, Kovavic’s high energy and hard working approach appear to make him a perfect fir for Pochettino’s Tottenham side.
But while Kovacic has not been a regular at the Champions League winners since his 2015 move from Inter Milan, starting just 27 La Liga games in two-and-a-half years, Sanchez added that the 23-year-old is seen as a future lynchpin of Real’s midfield.