Date: 26th October 2022 at 11:20am
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Chelsea guaranteed themselves top spot in Group E of the Champions League on Tuesday by beating RB Salzburg 2-1 in Austria. 

The Blues’ result alone wouldn’t have mathematically been enough to secure top spot, but AC Milan’s emphatic 4-0 victory over Dinamo Zagreb confirmed first place for the Premier League side.

Kai Havertz scored the winner for Chelsea with a stunning strike from outside of the penalty area, after Mateo Kovacic had put the visitors ahead in Salzburg.

Now, Chelsea are plotting contract negotiations with Kovacic, who was born just an hour away from Salzburg.

According to The Evening Standard, the club hope to begin talks over a new deal at the start of 2023, once the World Cup is over.

Kovacic, 28, has been in sensational form over the past few seasons, but he has less than two years remaining on his current Blues deal.

The former Inter Milan man has featured in every match since returning to action against Leicester in August, following a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Kovacic has less than two years remaining on his current contract

Both N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are set to be out of contract at the end of the current season, which has put more pressure on Chelsea to tie up Kovacic’s future.

Conor Gallagher and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have also been involved this season, but Kovacic, Jorginho and Kante have established themselves as Chelsea’s three senior midfielders over the past few years.

The Croatian midfielder joined The Blues from Real Madrid in 2018, initially on loan, before completing a £40 million permanent move the following summer.

Since then, he has made 197 appearances for the club, proving crucial to Chelsea’s 2021 Champions League triumph.

When The Blues lifted the trophy, Kovacic was doing so for the fourth time, having won Europe’s top competition three times previously with Real.

His performances over the last three years in particular have seen him establish himself as one of the Premier League’s best midfielders, and Chelsea boss Potter will not want to lose him anytime soon.

The report claims that the player himself would be open to signing a new deal with his current employers.

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