That’s the verdict of former Arsenal and England striker Paul Mariner, who says Kovacic is a “future talent”.
Mourinho has splashed the cash on Fred this summer as he looks to add to his midfield options.
And he could make a fresh foray into the transfer market to bring in more competition for the Brazilian, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic.
Kovacic has been touted as an option for Manchester United after revealing he is eager to call time on his stint at Real.
And Mariner has offered his backing to Jose Mourinho as the Old Trafford gaffer weighs up a raid on the Bernabeu.
“I do like [Kovacic] a lot,” Mariner told ESPN FC. “Look, for him to develop, he wants to play.
“I mean he didn’t start in too many games [at the World Cup], well he came on as a sub, for Croatia. But there’s no doubt at 24 years of age he’s a future talent.
“And I think if Mourinho’s gonna be there long-term, he’s gotta look to build. I know he’s got some quality in the middle of the park.
But will he be in before the start of the season? I think if they’re gonna make a move, now’s the time to go and get him. So I’m gonna say: ‘Yeah, go and get him boys.'”
Meanwhile, United legend Paul Scholes has revealed what he believes Kovacic’s prospective team-mate Pogba must do next season.
“Paul needs to find a consistency, I think,” said Scholes. “You look at his game – he can be brilliant one week and not so good the next week.
“He seems to be a player you get a performance out of him one in every three or four games. If you’re going to win leagues, it’s not enough.