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Chelsea confirm Higuain return to Juventus but Kovacic future remains uncertain

By Opta
Gonzalo Higuain

London, July 1: Chelsea have confirmed Gonzalo Higuain has left the club, with the Europa League winners opting not to extend his loan from Juventus or pursue a permanent deal.

Higuain spent the second half of 2018-19 at Stamford Bridge but scored only five goals in 14 Premier League appearances, with his form contributing to the striker being left out of Argentina's squad for the Copa America.

The 31-year-old previously hit 36 league goals in the 2015-16 Serie A season for Maurizio Sarri's Napoli and he will be expected to team up with the Italian again after the coach's switch from Chelsea to Juve.

Chelsea had the option to pay €18million (£16.1m) to extend Higuain's loan for another 12 months, while the Blues could have also purchased the forward from Juve for €36m.

Higuain, who previously signalled he hoped to stay at Chelsea, has been linked with a move to Roma but his brother and agent Nicola tweeted on Sunday that he will not play for a Serie A club other than Juventus next term.

Chelsea announced the exit of five players at the end of their contracts on Monday, with Higuain followed by former captain Gary Cahill out of the club, along with Rob Green, Eduardo and Kyle Scott.

But the future of Mateo Kovacic remains undecided as the Croatia midfielder, who was with the Blues on loan from Real Madrid last season, was not mentioned in the club's statement.

Reports claimed over the weekend that Chelsea inadvertently appeared to confirm Kovacic has signed on a permanent deal by publishing an interview with the midfielder on the club's mobile app.

Chelsea are unable to buy players until the end of January 2020 due to a transfer ban imposed by FIFA following an investigation into the club's signing of under-18 players.

But as Kovacic is already registered at Stamford Bridge under the terms of his loan agreement, Chelsea are able to push through a permanent deal for the 25-year-old.

Chelsea lost star player Eden Hazard to Madrid last month but earlier this year brought in United States forward Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund as a replacement.

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Story first published: Monday, July 1, 2019, 13:30 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 1, 2019
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