Chelsea Football Club are heading into something of an uncertain period, with the club banned from making any transfers over the course of the next two windows.
The Blues were found guilty of breaching rules surrounding the acquisition of young players and the sanctions brandished by FIFA are going to hit the club really hard.
The West Londoners are going to have to go through the whole of the 2019/20 season without adding any new faces to their squad and they also have to contend with the departure of their star player and talisman, Eden Hazard, who moved onto Real Madrid.
The punishment handed out by FIFA is a brutal one and Chelsea are going to have to utilise their squad and extensive pool of young players that are always shipped out on loan to the max. But there is one slight loophole that they could take advantage of.
Chelsea aren't able to sign any players barring one, Mateo Kovacic. The Croatia international joined on-loan from Real Madrid last summer as part of Thibaut Courtois' move to the Spanish capital. He didn't tear up too many trees during that spell but he is a neat, tidy midfield player who possesses a lot of technical ability.
Maurizio Sarri was a big fan of what Kovacic had to offer, which was shown by him making 32 appearances in the Premier League last season. But with the Italian now back in his homeland and Frank Lampard set to replace him in the Stamford Bridge hot seat, the future looks hazy for the Croatian.
His loan deal in West London is due to expire on 30th June (Sunday) so until then he remains a Chelsea player and the transfer ban may entice Lampard to splash the cash on him. Kovacic has struggled to really establish himself in Spain and he's admitted that moving to London would be appealing when speaking to Sky Sports in December.
“I want to respect my former club, Real Madrid. But I can see myself staying here at Chelsea.
"I am grateful to my former club and to Chelsea for the interest they showed in me. I’m enjoying it here and I’m happy. The city is amazing, the club is one of the best in the world and my teammates are all amazing."
His parent club are willing to do business and they're in desperate need of getting some players off the books after spending over €300m on transfers this summer. But with the La Liga giants fully aware of Chelsea's current situation and the interest in Kovacic from England and Italy, they're demanding €50m for him - mega money.
The FIFA sanctions mean they can't sign anyone other than Kovacic and Los Blancos are clearly trying to take them to the cleaners - but this means they need to bite the bullet and bring him in. They're going to be without Ruben Loftus-Cheek for a large period of time and with just N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Ross Barkley as the only recognised central midfielders, a move makes sense.
He's certainly a talented footballer and has a full season in the top flight under his belt, but no goals and two assists in 32 Premier League appearances definitely needs to be improved on if he's to warrant that big price tag. But Chelsea's plight means it's unfortunately unavoidable.
Frank Lampard is expected to be named as the Blues new manager imminently and one of his first pieces of business will be to make a decision on the Croatia international. If they don't go for him, then the likes of Tiemoue Bakayoko, Mason Mount and possibly even Danny Drinkwater could be afforded minutes in the first team.
Chelsea have until Sunday to make their minds up and if they decide against making his move permanent, they won't be able to sign a new player until next summer - a bloody long time.