Sunday, 22 November 2009


In the winter many Croatian sides will be once again strapped for cash and will turn to the free agent market in order to pick up bargain deals. But are there many deals to be had in this market or will they just be scraping at the bottom of the buscuit barrel. Lets take a look at the possible targets for HNL1's clubs.Former Croatia Under 21 striker Goran Ljubojevic has been a free agent since September when he was released by Racing Genk. The 26 year old had talked of a move to Belgium, however with little offers on the table a move back home looks increasingly possible. Ljubojevic's ex Racing Genk teammate Ivan Bosnjak is also struggling to make an impression in Greek club Irakilis and a transfer to Croatia may revive his ailing career. Likewise Zvonimir Deranja is yet to be made a free agent, but continues to see little to no playing time with financially threatened Belgian side Excelsior Mouscron.

One player who may be a bargain purchase is 26 year old midfielder Marko Maric who terminated his contract at Lille after making just one appearence in two seasons. Ex Rijeka and Hajduk Split defender Darko Miladin is also hunting for a new club, along with Hjorve Vukovic who last played with Alemania Aachen in Bundesliga 2, whilst Dario Smoje is struggling for a game at Pananios.

Regards keepers a series of ex Dinamo custodians are searching for new surroundings. 29 year old former Legia Warsaw stopper Ivan Turina has been training with Dinamo for the last few months and looks almost certain to sign to a new club in the winter. Larrisa's Tomislav Vranjic and Baku's Marko Sarlija could also prove attractive signings for a HNL1 side in need of a number 1.

The prize coups within the grasps of HNL1's bigger clubs however would command compensation fees. Eskirespor's playmaker Stjepan Poljak appears to still have a lot to give, but his time in Turkey certainly now looks over as the player made just one appearence all season. Energie Cottbus midfielder Stiven Rivic also is young enough to experience a revival in Croatia. The 24 year old is contracted to the Bundesliga 2 side till 2011 so would require payment of a transfer fee. For Hajduk and Dinamo both who may hunt for a defensive midfielder with Josip Skoko and Ivica Vrdoljak rumoured to be departing ex Croatia internationals Jurica Vranjes and Jerko Leko would both be up for sale in the winter.

The top target however is in Italy's Serie B where Sasa Bjelanovic may be willing to trade his position at Vicenza who are treading water in midtable. For Dinamo particularly, Bjelanovic may prove a much cheaper and more clinical forward than the misfiring Dmitrios Papadopoulos and Miroslav Slepicka. Bjelanovic is unlikely to command such high wages and has a reputation for dispatching the kind of chances Dinamo have been creating for their forwards on a regular basis.Former HNK Rijeka defender Filip Marcic would be a positive introduction to a number of HNL1 sides having just left Danish club Mittydlland. Khimki's Bosnian international winger Dragan Blatnjak also could be hunting new surrounding after his team were relegated from the Russian Premier League. Blatnjak is the clubs captain and has two years left on his contract, but may be willing to trade this in for top flight football.