Friday, 18 December 2009


December's One to Watch rightly goes to Rapid Vienna's Croatian international hotshot Nikica Jelavic, who fired his 18th and 19th goals of the season in his side 3-3 draw with Celtic in the Europa Liga. Jelavic's form has been nothing short of outstanding and he has now stole a march on Dinamo Zagreb's Mario Mandzukic and Blackburn Rovers Nicola Kalinic to put himself in contention to be a regular in Croatia's squad in 2010.

It has been a rapid rise for Jelavic, who failed to impress during is formative years in HNL1 with Hajduk Split leading to a even less enjoyable time at Waregem in the Belgian Juperliga. He spent last season out on loan with Vienna however and enjoyed a better time of it, scoring a modest 7 which despite some hesitation ultimately lead to a permanent transfer. The retiremement of Mario Bazina and sale of Stefan Maierhoffer to Wolves left space for Jelavic to lead the Rapid forwardline and the goals immediately flowed both in the league where he has 8 times and in the Europa Liga where he hit the headlines with strikes against Aston Villa, Hamburg and Celtic. When Slaven Bilic selected Jelavic for international duty in October there was again eyebrows raised, but he was on target in a friendly against Qatar and now looks like he's there to stay.

Many Croatia fans would welcome the introduction of Jelavic which should eventually break a policy of selecting HNL1 prospect's purely to increase the chances of a future big money transfer for their domestic club. Jelavic's form has been extraordinarily better than that of Dinamo's Mandzukic. So it would be a huge surprise if Mandzo continued to hold his place in the wake of Eduardo, Ivica Olic, Mladen Petric, Ivan Klasnic, Mate Bilic, Igor Budan and Ivan Perisic's presence in addition to Jelavic.

With January's transfer window approaching could Jelavic's season get even better with a move to a stronger foriegn club outside of Austria's Bundesliga. On his current form that is highly possible.