The 24-year-old Croatian World Cup star is seeking a move from the Bernabeu this summer in the hope of more first-team football, despite the fact new Los Blancos boss Julen Lopetegui wants to keep him at the club.
Manchester United have also been linked with Kovacic but it now appears the Stamford Bridge club are leading the race to clinch his signature ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline.
Meanwhile, it has been suggested that this deal could act as a sweetener between the two clubs, given Thibaut Courtois is likely to head in the opposite direction.
The Magpies want to bolster their backline before this week’s transfer deadline and the club’s scouting network have identified the 6ft 5in centre-back, who has let it be known he would like to play in the Premier League.
According to sources, the Ligue 1 side are happy to let the 25-year-old depart for a cut-price fee as Newcastle look to provide competition for the first-choice central defence pairing of Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark.
His acquisition would also prove handy given the recent departure of Chancel Mbemba.
Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata has apparently been offered to Serie A giants Inter Milan.
According to Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio of Sky Sport Italia, the 30-year-old has been given the option to leave Old Trafford but has himself made no suggestion he is seeking to do just that.
So far, though, the Nerazzurri have yet to latch on to the Red Devils’ proposal and seem focused on securing a deal for Monaco’s Keita Balde instead.
Mata has featured regularly for United during pre-season and is a respected member of Jose Mourinho’s squad, however, he did struggle for form and goals last term – netting just three.