Sunday, 24 October 2010

HNL1 ROUND 12

CIBALIA 2 HAJDUK 1 (Prgomet, Bartolovic/ Vukusic)
DINAMO 1 SIBENIK 0 (Tomecak)
VARAZDIN 2 ISTRA PULA 1 (Dudic, Pauletic O.G/ Linic)
RIJEKA 1 OSIJEK 5 (Strok/ Milicevic, Smoje, Nikisic, Sorsa, Skoric)
KARLOVAC 1 LOKOMOTIVA 2 (Primorac/ Sopic, Bule)
SPLIT 1 ZAPRESIC 1 (Vidic/ Matko)
DRAGOVOLJAC 1 ZADAR 4 (Leko/ Santini, Banovic, Mrsic, Curjuric)
BELUPO 1 ZAGREB 2 (Milardovic/ Pavlovic, Dedic)

Hajduk Split slipped up 2-1 Cibalia, to give Dinamo Zagreb the chance to extend their lead at the top. The Croatian Champions duely defeated Sibenik 1-0 thanks to Ivan Tomecak's goal to go four points clear. RNK Split stay third after a 1-1 draw with in form Inter Zapresic. Cibalia's win over Hajduk moves them up to fourth with Kresimir Prgomet and former Hajduk man Mladen Bartolovic netting the goals.

Varazdin who are in danger of losing star man Josip Brezovec on a free transfer due to unpaid wages, are 5th after beating Istra Pula 2-1. Brezovec was given praise by both coaches for playing an influential role. Sinisa Linic scored his first goal for Pula. Zagreb jumped ahead of Rijeka into 6th after beat out of form Slaven Belupo 2-1. Belupo are sliding dangerous towards the relegation zone, where Zadar and Lokomotiva are showing plenty of fight. Zadar beat Dragovoljac 4-1, whilst Lokomotiva recorded a impressive 2-1 away victory over Karlovac. The common opinion is Loko are only in a temporary blip due to player injuries, however whilst goalscorers Nino Bule and Zjelko Sopic continue to perform the team has a chance.

Sibenik have also been improving, so above Istra Pula and Dragovoljac who are stranded their is expected to be a severe fight for survival. The capabilities of the 14th placed teams upwards would suggest the league is largely evenly matched exempting the bottom two and Dinamo Zagreb. If HNS were to study the league they would see that their our 14 teams capable of competing well in the countries top flight.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

HNL1 ROUND 11

SIBENIK 3 SPLIT 0
LOKOMOTIVA 1 VARAZDIN 2
OSIJEK 1 DINAMO 3
HAJDUK 1 BELUPO 0
CIBALIA 3 DRAGOVOLJAC 0
ISTRA 0 RIJEKA 0
ZAGREB 1 KARLOVAC 2
ZAPRESIC 1 ZADAR 0

Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split moved clear of RNK Split at the top of the table after both claimed wins over Osijek and Slaven Belupo respectively. Dinamo beat Osijek 3-1 despite going behind to Vedran Nikisic's goal. Milan Badelj, Sammir and Fatos Beciraj who is starting to proving himself a decent goalscorer got Dinamo the full three points. Dinamo surprisingly played with two holding midfielders, with Mathias Chago having found himself a spot in the team. Over recent weeks Vahid Halilhodzic seems to have stopped rotating and has decided on an 11. Tomislav Barbaric, Luis Ibanez and Adrian Callelo have not regularly been in the frame, but its likely they are still part of the clubs plans. Dodo and Miroslav Slepicka seemed to have little future with the club.

Hajduk's 1-0 win over Slaven Belupo came via Ante Vukusic. This is his 12th goal in 16 games in all competitions. At this stage it is hard to pass judgement on whether this 19 year old will be a future Croatian player. However he has surprised many this season and is starting to fill the boots of the Nikola Kalinic, who was sold to Blackburn Rovers over a year ago. Rijeka stay fourth after a disappointing goalless draw with winless Istra Pula.

Cibalia moved up to 5th with a comfortable 3-0 win over Dragovoljac. Dino Kresinger, Kreso Prgomet and Mladen Bartolovic were on target. Varazdin claimed yet another great win defeating Lokomotiva away from home 2-1. The reliable Nino Bule struck for Lokomotiva, however Varazdin through Filip Svorc into the action who netted twice to turn the game in Varazdin's favour. Lokomotiva have dropped into the relegation zone and our counting the cost of injuries to key players. Bagaric, Sivonjic, Hajovic, Simic and Antolic are currently all laid low.

Whilst Lokomotiva struggle, Dinamo's former feeder club Zapresic have come to life with an series of 1-0 victories. This time recording a crucial win over strugglers Zadar thanks to Antun Palic's penalty. Zapresic are now free of the relegation zone and looking further up the table. The arrival of Matija Matko and the return of Mario Grgurovic has worked wonders for Zapresic. Aleksandr Trajkovski has also added competition up front after he was finally registered.

There also appears light at the end of the tunnel for Sibenik who demolished HNL1 team of the season so far RNK Split 3-0. The club is starting to get their best players fit again. Marko Kartelo and two goals from Drazen Jelic made the difference. With Sibenik and Zapresic showing fight, Zadar, Osijek and Lokomotiva need to raise their game. Zagreb are also slipping in the wrong direction, who were defeated by improving Karlovac 2-1. Neither side will be overly concerned at this stage.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

HNL1 ROUND 10

RNK Split continued their super form with yet another 1-0 win, this time defeating NK Osijek thanks to a late goal by Bojan Golubovic. Its safe to say the HNL1 newcomers will not be returning to the lower levels of Croatian football any time soon. Sports Director Nenad Pralija and coach Ivan Katilinic are responsible for excellation preparation on the team prior to the season.

Rijeka moved back into fourth with a fine 3-0 win over Lokomotiva. In response Loko's coach Roy Ferencina left his post which could destabilise the club. The team need to get back to winning ways as soon as possible. The teams disappointing results seem to have coincided with injuries to Tomislav Martinac, Nino Bule and Zjelko Sopic, whilst loan signing Ilija Sivonjic has not had the desire effect. Rijeka's goals came through Ivan Rodic, Kristjian Caval and Damir Kreilach. Zagreb and Varazdin played out a goalless draw so stay safely positioned in 5th and 7th respectively.

Slaven Belupo and Cibalia are played a predictable 1-1 draw with both sides evenly matched this season. Mladen Bartolovic opened the scoring for Cibalia before Stjepan Poljak came off the bench to equalise. Down at the lower end of the table Sibenik picked up a crucial 4-1 win over Zadar which brings them back amongst the living, just one point from there opponents and two points from fifth bottom Lokomotiva. Two goals from Mehmed Alispahic, one from Daniel Georgievski and a strike from sub Drazen Jelic cancelled out Ivan Santini's opener for Zadar, who later had Igor Banovic red carded.

Sibenik's victory worsened the plight of Hrvatski Dragovoljac who are still winless. Dragovoljac drew 0-0 with in form Inter Zapresic.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

VARAZDIN CONSIDERING POSAVEC

NK Varazdin are considering making a move for Srebrenko Posavec after the playmaker impressed in a friendly in midweek. The 30 year old has been residing in the Croatian city after failing to tie down a new contract with Slaven Belupo. Posavec has been one of the strongest performers in HNL1 over the last ten years and despite being in free agent status is rated by transfermarkt.de as a 1m Euro player.

It is understood Posavec left Belupo as they were over capacitated in that area with Aljosa Vojinovic and Goran Mujanovic already on board. Belupo also wanted to bring the younger Stjepan Poljak back to the club. For Varazdin, Posavec would be a major addition and would be reunited with former teammate Nikola Safaric. However the deal is currently on ice as Varazdin need to shift out a midfielder first and the quartet of Glavina - Glavica - Golubar - Susac are currently performing well. In the winter Varazdin would like to raise funds from the sale of there two stars Roberto Puncec and Josip Brezovec who have been little short of outstanding so far this season. At that point Safaric is expected to be moved into the starting line and Posavec may become an option. At present Varazdin are deciding whether they strike a deal with Posavec now or wait till then. The club may also look at Gordan Golik as a new defensive midfield man.

The rejuvenation of Varazdin in the face of what is a financial mess has been so expected to Varazdin that the club suddenly need to decide what to do with Gordan Vuk, Andrej Vuk and Adi Musli who all appear surplus to requirements and may be allowed to move on. One thing Varazdin need to stay weary of is players moving freely due to unpaid wages. Josip Brezovec is playing so well that he deserves a transfer to a bigger club and Puncec is continuing the same form that helped earn Croatia a semi final place in the Under 19 Euro Championships. Varazdin lost Igor Prahic and Matija Smrekar to French Ligue 2 promotion chasers Sedan last year for little to no money. Smrekar since looks likely to go onto some degree of success, so Varazdin must stay guarded of losing such talents for nothing.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

ISTRA FACING HARD SEASON

Istra 1961 look set for a difficult season, after failing to win a game in the first nine matches. Much of the problems can be attributed to poor preparation as one of the league best coaches Zoran Vulic was allowed to leave the club and the directors were slow in providing funds for new players to be brought to the club. Istra do now have their full crop of players. However inspirational striker Asim Sehic has been injured and new signing Edin Hadzic, Hjorve Kovacevic and Armend Alimi have not lived up to expectations. With so many relegation spots its hard to see how Istra can survive.

Istra seemed to have passed up on the idea of bringing high profile names such as Ivan Bosnjak and Dario Zahora (now of Bnei Sahknin). They did pursuade Sinisa Linic to sign up, however problems are in the creative and goalscoring department. Armend Alimi and Kovacevic seem not to be making their mark. The club could attempt to switch things around if the clubs wealthy Russian owner has the ambition to stay in the league. Srebrenko Posavec and Miroslav Saric would be two adventurous recruits and can play immediately due to being in free agent status.

In attack Asim Sehic, Edin Hadzic, Eliomar and Bosko Stupic have done well in former years and may come alive if the supply is good enough.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

HNL1 ROUND 9

Hajduk Split stay top of the Croatian League after a comfortable 2-0 win over Varazdin. Ante Vukusic scored his seventh goal of the season, with the other coming from Duje Cop. Hajduk will be hugely delighted with the progress the young Croatian Under 21 international pair have made this season. Vukusic is the current top scorer in the league.

RNK Split kept up their excellant winning streak to improve their status in the top three beating crisis club Istra 1961 1-0. Slaven Belupo moved up to fifth after a comfortable 3-0 win over Dragovoljac. Vojinovic, Tepuric and Bagaric were on target. Belupo released Filip Marcic in midweek due to misconduct. Dragovoljac are becoming cut adrift at the bottom of the table with Istra 1961.

Inter Zapresic and Osijek recorded much needed wins to move away from the relegation zone. Zapresic have had an amazing turnaround in fortunes and picked up another 1-0 victory this time at Sibenik. Maligned Albanian striker Arber Abilijaj finally got his first goal of the season. Osijek were 3-2 winners against Zadar, which sent the opponents further into difficulty. Vedran Jugovic, Ivan Milicevic and Vedran Niksic scored in a hard fought win. Osijek will be relieved that Niksic, Milicevic and Josip Barisic are finally hitting the net again.

Cibalia prevented their slide towards to lower end of the table with a 1-0 win over Karlovac. Reliable striker Dino Kresinger scored their goal. Karlovac gave a debut to new signing Karlo Primorac, who last played for Dinamo Zagreb.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

BOSNJAK STILL WAITING

Croatian forward Ivan Bosnjak, still remains in free agent status after failing to lock down a deal with a new club prior to the new campaign. Although a foriegn contract appears unlikely, Bosnjak is still a catch for HNL1 sides. Cibalia is the hometown club of the 31 year old, but they do not have a financial package suitable for the ex Hajduk, Dinamo and Racing Genk man.

Bosnjak instead could be looking at a Croatian club like HNK Rijeka. Nenad Gracan may be interested in the winter should he lose Radomir Dalovic. However for now he is staying firmly within budget. Many Rijeka fans feel that the team needs a few more experienced attacking midfielder to help them compete with Dinamo and Hajduk. As well as Bosnjak, Srebrenko Posavec and Miroslav Saric are handy free agent signings.

Posavec, 30 and Gordan Golik, 25 could well be waiting for a deal with NK Varazdin who need to sell in the winter and may be taking a few months away to recharge. However Miroslav Saric is likely to be the next to sign up with a new club just to gain first team action having failed to secure a deal abroad. Cibalia, Karlovac, Istra Pula or Zadar could all be looking at him.

Abroad, Marko Maric may be looking around clubs. However once again he could prove an attractive recruit for Rijeka as replacement for Damir Kreilach who may recieve offers in the winter. Dino Drpic's situation also looks desperate as he has failed to land a new club. It is surprising no Bundesliga 1 or 2 offer has been lodged. Goran Sablic's injury issue could well have got the better off him. Usually such players as Sablic and Drpic were guarenteed deals in Dinamo or Hajduk, but times seem to have changed. Marko Babic has only beginning looking for a new club so still has time.

Monday, 20 September 2010

DINAMO SNAP UP SKENDER

Dinamo Zagreb have completed the signing of 30 year old goalkeeper Marin Skender. The former Osijek player will provide cover to younger Under 21 international Ivan Keleva. Skender is however a former Croatia international and coach Vahid Halihodzic may feel Skender will provide better competition than Ivan Vidakovic, who has not played for Dinamo yet since being taken from Lokomotiva. The move to Dinamo is an opportunity for Skender who has been trying to find a new club since leaving NK Zagreb in the summer.

Elsewhere Karlo Primorac has finally agreed terms to sign with Karlovac. The 26 year old Osijek forward is being seen as a major recruit by Igor Pamic, who has funds from the transfers of Goran Bunoza, Nevan Vukman and Mario Baric. Pamic has been looking for a influential signing since allowing youngster Niko Tokic to leave the club. Pamic has also signed up former Inter Zapresic defender Marijan Budimir, due to an injury to Toni Golem.

Slaven Belupo may also be forced to look for a new player due to injury to their misfiring frontman Tomislav Busic. It is possible Aljosa Vojinovic and Mateas Delic may be forced to abandon their midfield roles to join Francis Tepuric and Matija Poredski in attack. Filip Marcic has also been released by the club due to misconduct, although his place in currently being filled by younger Puric.

Srebrenko Posavec, Ivan Bosnjak, Marko Babic, Dino Drpic, Goran Sablic, Marko Maric, Gordan Golik and Miroslav Saric remain without a club after two months into the new season. Posavec, Golik and Saric could yet find space in a HNL1 club, but the others may have to look abroad.

Friday, 17 September 2010

HNL1 ROUND 8

ZAGREB 0 DINAMO 1 (Barbaric)
RIJEKA 0 HAJDUK 1 (Brkljaca)
ZAPRESIC 1 OSIJEK 0 (Saric)
VARAZDIN 2 CIBALIA 1 (Susac, Brezovec/ Kresinger)
DRAGOVOLJAC 0 SIBENIK 1 (Alispahic)
SPLIT 1 LOKOMOTIVA 0 (Vitaic)
ZADAR 2 ISTRA 0
KARLOVAC 1 BELUPO 0

RNK Split look set to launch a campaign for European football after yet another victory. This time at home to Lokomotiva. Ante Vitaic netted the only goal of the game. Karlovac are also on a good winning run with a impressive 1-0 win against Slaven Belupo. Igor Pamic intends to improve his team in midweek with a new signing and will be satisfied his latest arrival Cejvanovic found the net, whilst also keeping a clean sheet. Slaven Belupo meanwhile, have creativity in abundance from Stjepan Poljak, Aljosa Vojinovic and Goran Mujanovic, but are finding goals hard to come by. Mateas Delic has been satisfactory, however neither Francis Tepuric or summer signing Tomislav Busic have found the net so far this season.

Josip Brezovec once again showed his quality as he netted the winner to help Varazdin defeat Cibalia 2-1. Despite having the worse financial situation in HNL1, Varazdin have impressed so far this season with a fine young crop of player. Brezovec and Robert Puncec, stand out but Glavina, Glavica, Simek and Krklec have also performed well this season. Cibalia will see this as an opportunity lost. However Stanko Mrsic's side are still in a comfortable league position and will forward to their next match.

Inter Zapresic made it three wins in a row as they overcame Osijek 1-0 thanks to Tomislav Saric's strike. It was a important win for Zapresic which brings them back amongst the pack attempting to stay safe in midtable. Sibenik also recorded a victory against winless Hrvatski Dragovoljac. However Mehmad Alispahic's solitary penalty goal will not convince Vjekoslav Lokic they have turned the corner just yet. Despite Sibenik's win, Zadar recorded a win over lowly Istra Pula to edge clear of danger.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

DINAMO BRING OUT THERE BEST

Dinamo Zagreb recorded one of there best ever results in European competition defeating Villareal 2-0. The Croatian Champions currently coached by Vahid Halilhodzic played their game of the season with goals by the outstanding Sammir and Ante Rukavina.

Dinamo still have the same system employed by Velimir Zajec, which has been bringing the best out of Sammir. However Halilhodzic has made changes, bringing in the experienced Tonel in the centre of defence and moving Leandro Cufre to left back. Tomislav Barbaric has been dropped to the bench where he provides cover.

It also has not taken the Bosnian coach long to work out that Luis Ibanez is a stronger midfielder than a defender and is using him in an attacking role. Dinamo have also had success on the right wing where Sime Vrsaljko and Ivan Tomecak provide excellant energy and pace. The Croatian Under 21 international are a major hope for the countries footballing future. Halilhodzic has also put his trust in Arjan Ademi alongside Milan Badelj, but have two more than able deputies in Matias Chago and Adrian Callelo.

In attack Halilhodzic finally played Pedro Morales to the delight of many Dinamo fans, who enjoyed the Chileans performances last season. Morales is hugely talented and possessing strong shooting and passing skills. Dodo is expected to fall into the background with Fatos Beciraj and Jakub Sylvestr ready for games next week. Along with Dodo, Miroslav Slepicka will also struggle for action. The 28 year old is not the future of the team and may be made available for sale. Andrej Kramaric could also suffer. Etto, Chago and Ibanez are expected to have a place at Dinamo.

Monday, 13 September 2010

HARD TIMES FOR SIBENIK

After seven rounds of matches there are desperate times ahead for relegation threatened HNK Sibenik, who need their new players to bed in and drive them to safety. Drazen Jelic, Niko Tokic, Ante Aracic, Marko Kartelo, Zjelko Malcic, Daniel Georgievski and Amauri have all arrived in a matter of weeks, but due to injury Sibenik have not been able to keep a consistent side.

Whilst Sibenik struggle, Inter Zapresic have improved with Antun Palic central to all the sides good work in attack. Macedonian striker Aleksander Trajkovski also seems to have added something where Albanian Arber Abiliajaj was struggling. Matija Matko is also expected to add some strength from the bench.

NK Zagreb, Rijeka, Slaven Belupo and Cibalia have as yet been untroubled at the start of the season. There is reasons to be positive for all those squads who should be challenging for a Europa Liga slot come the end of the season. RNK Split are also functioning perfectly under Ivan Katilinac after making some excellant signings. Split haven't even seen the best yet of Zvonimir Deranja as Romano Oblinovic and Bojan Golubovic has covered for him excellantly. There has even been rumours that Split could recieve offers in the winter for Golubovic.

Split will want to follow the example set by Karlovac, who are fighting hard in their second season in the Croatian top flight. Coach Igor Pamic has been keen to improve his squad, especially after transferring Mario Baric for 200,000 Euro's. However Pamic has found it hard to pursuade players that Karlovac is a worthy club to come to. Pamic was keen to sign former Osijek striker Karlo Primorac. However as the player spent the end of last season with Dinamo Zagreb and trialled with Eintract Frankfurt, it would appear the 26 year old feels he can gain a better offer. Primorac was a target for Rijeka and Slaven Belupo, but both sides now appear to have filled their striking vacancies. Whether Primorac would come back on the agenda of such sides or for Osijek or Zagreb in the winter is not known. Miroslav Saric could become a serious target for Karlovac for right midfield.

Osijek have returned to form after a poor start to the season. New players are now bedding in and Josip Barisic and Ivan Milicevic are finally back amongst the goals. Osijek's desire is to give their young players such as Pranjic, Jugovic, Vidakovic, Sorsa and Niksic every chance, before turning to the transfer market with the money they recieved from the sale of Domagoj Vida.

Varazdin have also been sitting safely, but will need to make a sale in the winter to avoid any more financial uncertainty. Josip Brezovec has been the pick of the players in the early part of the season and could gain interest abroad. Should he go there is a ready made replacement in former player Gordan Golik who is still a free agent. Rijeka coach Nenad Gracan might also be tempted to enter the transfer market to help the club kick on to the next level. Rijeka are top, but it appears only a matter of time before Dinamo Zagreb or Hajduk Split over take them. Rijeka will only be looking at free agents. Srebrenko Posavec could add creativity, whilst Marko Maric has experience in the Greek and French league and could bring something to the team. It is also thought Ivan Bosnjak is waiting for a club like Rijeka, but it is more likely Gracan would only make such a move should Radomir Dalovic transfer, as Bosnjak commands high wages.

At the bottom of the table Istra Pula have strengthened there team. Problems have been in attack, however Bosko Stupic, Edin Hadzic, Eliomar and Asim Sehic are have reputations and should really be enough to get by in HNL1. Pula need a little more in midfield from Armend Alimi and Hjorve Kovacevic. A strong central back may also be neccessary, although there are few on the market. Miroslav Saric may also be a target for Pula should the midfield not improve its performance.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

HNL1 ROUND 7

Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split played out a 1-1 draw to stay in the top three. In form Sammir opened the scoring however Anas Sharbini equalised for a rejuvenated Hajduk. Many fans are still baffled by Dinamo's continued use of Dodo, who is yet to score this season whilst Pedro Morales and Luis Ibanez warm the bench. New signings Fatos Beciraj and Jakub Sylvestr are expected to be used in the coming weeks. Tonel made his debut in the centre of defence.

Rijeka stay top despite being demolished 4-1 by Cibalia. Radomir Dalovic thought a good week with Montenegro would continue with his club after opening the scoring. However Radotic, Bartolovic, Kresinger and Baraban also got goals. Frane Vitaic also made his debut for Cibalia.

Karlovac moved themselves away from danger by defeating hapless Hrvatski Dragovoljac 2-0. Karlovac had enjoyed good preparations during international break and Josip Jerneic and Ante Batarelo returned the coaches trust with the key goals. Lokomotiva have also improved their league position with a 3-2 win over Zadar. Nino Bule scored twice with Croatian Under 21 international Marko Simic, who missed an entire season with injury scoring the other.

Zagreb are slipping from the top three after a 2-0 defeat against the seasons surprise package HNK Split. Split are also finding goals from all areas of the pitch with Predrag Simic and Ante Vitaic netting on this occasion. Split are now in the top five in the table. Osijek also got their second win on the bounce with a 3-1 win over trouble Sibenik. Zoran Kvrzic, Josip Barisic and Ivo Smoje got the goals. Mehmad Alispahic was on target for Sibenik who are suffering from injuries.

Sibenik look the most likely candidates from the strongly fancied HNL1 sides who could be in danger of relegation this season. The teams major issue is goalscoring as they have struggled to find a replacement for Ermin Zec. Zjelko Malcic, Niko Tokic and Drazen Jelic have all arrived in recent weeks to try to alter the teams fortunes.

Sibenik's troubles were made worse on Sunday after Inter Zapresic claimed a important 1-0 victory over fellow strugglers Istra Pula. Croatia Under 21 international prospect Antun Palic netted the goal. Matija Matko and Aleksander Trajkovski have bolstered Zapresic's strikeforce during the international break. Trajkovski was recommended to Zapresic by Chelsea, but has only been able to compete after he turned 18 years old. Istra also strengthened their side signing Sinisa Linic. However Robert Jarni urgently needs striker Asim Sehic back from injury.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

ZARAGOZA RELEASE BABIC

Former Croatia international Marko Babic has become the latest player to be made a free agent after another disappointing episode in Spain's Premira Liga with Real Zaragoza. Babic was a starter in the Croatian national team that impressed in the 2006 World Cup, but has seen his stock fall astronomically since giving up his place at Bayer Leverkusen for Real Betis.

Babic, however found himself behind Mark Gonzalez and Edu in the pecking order and saw little action. By the time Babic was released two seasons ago he was out of match practice which showed when he turned out for six months with Hertha Berlin.

Rather than stay in Germany, Babic went back to Spain last summer with newly promoted Zaragoza and again found himself out on the bench. Babic this week agreed to terminate his contract and will search for a new club. NK Osijek stated their desire to see him back in Croatia. However it would seem Babic could gain interest from Turkey, Austria or Greece. Babic, has however recently opened a football school in his hometown Osijek and may listen to any offer.

CROATIA IN NEED OF FRESH FACES

After Slaven Bilic's Croatia failed to knock over another middle ranked obstacle in Greece in midweek, it would appear the majority of the current selection would need a helping hand.

With Drago Gabric, Nikola Pokrivac and Mario Mandzukic far from lighting it up at club and international level, it would appear Bilic could yet strengthen his side further.

In attack the Croatian media were critical of the decision to drop Mate Bilic, in spite of the striker netting 3 goals in his 4 games he played including a strike in a 1-0 victory over a Austria side who Mandzukic, Modric and Petric were struggling to put away.

Without Mate Bilic, Croatia went the same way they were going without his intevention against Austria. The Sporting Gijon forward clearly deserved to continue in the squad. Add to this Srdjan Lakic, who has been one of the best players at the beginning of the Bundesliga season scoring 3 times in just two games. Lakic has enjoyed three strong seasons on the trot now with first Heracles and then with Kaiserslautern which resulted in their reappearence in the top flight. Whilst Lakic was helping the sleeping giant and former German Champions gain promotion, he was ignored. However he deserves his chance should his form continue. Lakic and Bilic offer variation to Croatia's current forward line who in comparison on smaller technical forwards who are arguably more deep lying attacker. Since the retirement of Dado Prso and ill health of Tomislav Maric, Croatia has not been as successful with turning ariel crosses into goals. This is another advantage Lakic and Bilic can bring to the side.

Another player with a lot to offer Croatia, is their Under 21 player Ivan Perisic. Perisic has definitely come of age at Club Brugge and would seem to be a waste of a player down in the Under 21's when he could be helping the A side. Unlike Modric, Perisic finds goals from midfield a lot easier to come by and there is certainly vacancies in the squad ahead of Pokrivac and Gabric. Pokrivac has been poor in the national team since his disappointing display against England. Gabric, has been better, but Croatia seem to already have a lot of players in his style. Perisic is a completely different midfielder which Croatia need.

For now Lakic, Bilic and Perisic would certainly add something to Croatia's squad in place of Gabric, Pokrivac and Mandzukic. Ivan Klasnic was another player missing for the recent international fixtures. The 30 year old is still a excellant finisher, however he still has a little to prove with his fitness as missed the third Premiership match and lasted just 45 minutes when he finally giving his first outing.

Mato Jajalo would also have something to offer the Croatian National Team as Croatia are lacking in central midfielders. Jerko Leko could also do a job if anyone drops out injured. Jajalo however still needs to arrive in the Bundesliga. Koln have made a poor start to the season and Jajalo will need to do a little more. Ivo Ilicevic will also need to keep up his good work playing alongside Lakic at Kaiserslautern. His way into the squad may come a little harder as Croatia have similar players such as Modric, Pranjic, Rakitic and Kranjcar. However Ivo will certainly be able to step in if required.

Dejan Lovren and Domagoj Vida are two players who could strengthen Croatia in the backline in the future. Lovren arguably deserves a call ahead of Jurica Buljat. Luka Vucko, Tomislav Mikulic and Andre Mijatovic have also been doing well at club level in the last two seasons. The one contreversial selection available to Croatia, is Brazilian Sammir. The extremely gifted playmaker however arguably has met the requirements of national team selection which was good enough to gain access to Mario Mandzukic. Sammir has not only been scoring goals, but almost running the whole attacking segment of Dinamo Zagreb team.

The remaining player who has a good case for a shot in the national team is Nikola Kalinic. The Blackburn Rovers forward has the ability to sniff out a goal and competes hard with central defenders. Kalinic, must just keep doing what's doing for now and hope a vacancy opens for him. However Kalinic certainly has a case to start some friendlies to prove he can be of use.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

PAVLICIC BACK AT OSIJEK

NK Osijek have brought Milan Pavlicic back to the club after concerns over the teams performance in attack. The experienced forward will give competition to Ivan Milicevic, Josip Barisic, Vedran Nikisic and Anton Maglica.

Cibalia have also been tinkering with their squad, allowing Marin Vidosevic to sign up with HNL2 Imotski with Frane Vitaic taking his place. The deals signifies the financial limitations in HNL1 clubs. Thus far impact free agents such as Srebrenko Posavec, Miroslav Saric and Ivan Bosnjak have been left on the shelf perhaps due to wage demands.

Karlovac, however are still pursueing the signature of striker Karlo Primorac. Having signed Mario Ticinovic on loan and raised 200,000 Euro in transfer money, Igor Pamic could be more likely to engage Posavec or Saric. Due to smaller wages striker Mario Juric could become the next targets for clubs wanting enhancement. Dario Bodrusic has found a new engagement with second division Rudes.

Hrvatski Dragovoljac have signed former Croatia international defender Dario Smoje. The 31 year old will begin work with fitness trainers at the club having missed over a year of football since leaving Gent for Pananios. 34 year old striker Alen Mesanovic and 33 year old playmaker Darko Cordas also arrive.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

KARLOVAC TRACK PRIMORAC

NK Karlovac coach Igor Pamic is still attempting to secure the services of a striker despite the end of the transfer window for contracted players. Pamic has turned his attention to Karlo Primorac, who is currently a free agent after being released by Dinamo Zagreb in the summer. Pamic is confident he can bring the best out of Primorac who was highly rated as a youngster at Osijek.

Pamic also needs a right sided player to cover the loss of Mario Baric, who signed for Ghent. One player who could be on his list to replace him could be Srebrenko Posavec. The 30 year old certainly has enough experience and class to help Karlovac. Pamic appears confident he can find quality in the free agent market. Other noteworthy free agents include Ivan Bosnjak, Gordan Golik, Marko Maric and Miroslav Saric. Karlovac could have competition for Posavec from Cibalia who also desire a creative midfielder, though they are close to completing the signing of Frane Vitaic who was lately released by Split.

In HNL2 Medimurje resigned Marijan Vuka to lead their attack. Milan Pavlicic could also soon be on the radar of a HNL2 club. Tomislav Zivko meanwhile has signed for third division Zelina after being released by Inter Zapresic. Zivko has been replaced by Mario Grgurovic which may suggest Zapresic regret his parting.

NK Zagreb have returned Jethron to the first team after suspending him for a game. Ivo Susak has given his playing staff every chance to impress him and has rarely entered the transfer market. Osijek have brought back former player Milan Pavlicic who add some competition to their attack.

DRPIC WAITS ON TRANSFER

Croatian international Dino Drpic is the only high profile Croatian player who can still transfer after the deadline which has now passed. Drpic, 29 enjoys free agent status, but is deciding partly where to park his celebrity wife Nives. Drpic's schenanigans at Dinamo Zagreb seem to have scuppered any deal being made in Turkey where he had various interest. Overtures from Sporting Lisbon was only tentative, whilst Sporting Gijon and Olympiakos were also mentioned.

Drpic will need to decide soon as he does enjoy a good relationship with national team coach Slaven Bilic and there still remains a central defensive slot open for grabs. Hajduk's Jurica Buljat is yet to convince, whilst Dario Knezevic chose to stay in the Italian second division with Livorno till the next transfer window in the winter. Drpic seems to be suffering due to life choices. Dinamo are disinterested in taking him back, whilst his form at Karlsruhre last season has not gained him any offers from the Bundesliga. The Belgian league could be a suitable home or the French Ligue 1.

DRAGOVOLJAC TOO SLOW

Hrvatski Dragovoljac appeared to go missing during the transfer window despite their position in the relegation zone of HNL1. It could be that Davor Mladina's men have conceded that it is too soon for life in Croatia's top flight and are not interested in sacrificing the clubs long term future.

Thus far Dragovoljac have looked to youngster Velimir Svaric, Nikola Kovacevic and Nikola Frzjulec to aid there striking issues. Mladina however was calling for experience, but it appears Dragovoljac don't have the wage structure to take in influential players. The club has to sign from the free agent market so could still recruit.

One experienced attacker may aid them. Such a player as Mario Juric, formerly of Slaven Belupo could have something to offer them. Juric is at the back end of his career and is more likely to consider a small wage. Its likely such players as Miroslav Saric, Marko Maric and Mario Grgurovic can obtain better offers. However Gordan Golik needs a employer as there is no room in Varazdin and would do a good job as a enforcer in midfield.

STILL IN THE BAG 2

MARIN SKENDER
Formerly a Croatian international, Marin Skender has found gaining a new club difficult since leaving NK Osijek last summer. The 30 year old had a breif spell with NK Zagreb, however he was released at the end of last season after losing his spot in the team.

RONALD SIKLIC

Left Back Ronald Siklic was released by Slavia Prague two months ago and is now a free agent. Siklic has a wealth of experience playing in Ukraine, Czech Republic and Poland. However his most successful spell has been at Slaven Belupo which earned his move to Slavia Prague. A HNL1 club may be interested to therefore look at the player. It would also not be a surprise for Siklic to joy his brother Bruno in the Far East.

MARIO GRGUROVIC

25 year old former Croatia Under 21 international Mario Grgurovic has found himself in obscurity only six months after being in decent form for Inter Zapresic. Circumstances however led him to leave the club and he has not suceded in finding a better engagement. Grgurovic should focus his attention on getting out on the field and playing again with Zadar, Dragovoljac, Sibenik, Cibalia and Istra all suitable fits for him.
UPDATE: Grgurovic returns back to Inter Zapresic.

DARIO BODRUSIC

Centre back Dario Bodrusic is another player like Grgurovic who was enjoying a decent season in the last 12 months only to find himself with an employer. Bodrusic, played 20 times for Istra Pula last season and has also enjoy spells at Rijeka, Slaven Belupo and Dinamo Tirana. It would seem only a matter of time before Bodrusic finds a new club with any number of sides fit to have him in their backline
UPDATE: Bodrusic signs with Croatian second division side Rudes.

MARIO JURIC
33 year old Mario Juric has been linked regularly with Sibenik at the start of the season. However after a flurry of arrivals Juric's name eventually did not appear on the roster, so he remains a free agent. After a fairly successful spell at Slaven Belupo, it isn't known whether Juric is still keen for top flight football or would consider dropping down to HNL2 to help a team gain promotion. Juric has plenty of Europa Liga experience and has also player in the Russian Premier League.

MARIJAN VUKA

Marijan Vuka is one of few Croatia free agents left who can boast fairly decent goalscoring records. Vuka is currently training with his first club Osijek, for whom he scored 13 goals prior to a move to Marsonia. Most recently Vuka has been playing with Medimurje and was one of their better player prior to the clubs relegation scoring 26 goals in 46 matches. He has also scored goals in Russia with Kuban Krasnador. Although Osijek allowed Vuka and Karlo Primorac to train at the Gradski Vrt they are currently given a chance to their young strikeforce, so do not wish to recruit them. Vuka may turn out a positive venture however for a HNL2 club seeking promotion or for Hrvatski Dragovoljac, who require experienced forwards.
UPDATE: Vuka returns to Medmiurje after failing to secure a HNL1 transfer.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

ZAPRESIC LEFT OUT IN THE COLD

After transfer deadline passed the situation still seems far from comfortable for Inter Zapresic, who appear to have recieved the cold shoulder from Dinamo Zagreb. Zapresic will have to hope Matija Matko makes an impression and that Arber Abilijaj can find any kind of form, as Dinamo were disinterested in loaning their out of favor striker Dodo back to Zapresic. Ilija Sivonjic was also sent to Lokomotiva.

Matej Delac's transfer from Zapresic to Chelsea might be behind the freezing of relations. Zapresic appeared to wish to go their own way, but their changes have been disastrous. Out went two of their stars Miroslav Saric and Mario Grgurovic on free transfers with pale replacements like Tomislav Zivko taking their place. Defensively Sasa Balic and Nenad Nikolic have not worked out, whilst Gamarra was in and out the club in months and the forementioned Abilijaj also has flopped so far.

Saric and Grgruovic will now make positive reinforcements for one of Zapresic's competitors. It is thought Cibalia only need one more creative forward to get back to the form of last season. Mladen Bartolovic was a sound signing. However the team are lacking a player who can get on the ball are make things happen. Saric and Grgurovic will certainly make attractive signings. However ex Slaven Belupo playmaker Srebrenko Posavec could also be highly effective.

NK Zagreb could also be searching out a central midfield player after becoming disillusioned with Brazilian Jethron. Marko Maric, formerly of Lille and Skoda Xanthi may interest them as they attempt to stay in the top half of the table. Karlovac also still look one striker short of being a decent side. Edin Husic and Mario Ticinovic are decent signings, but they lack a number 9. Karlo Primorac has been linked with the club in recent weeks and Andrej Kramaric could also have been a noteworthy loan signing. Dinamo have six strikers on their books now and are only playing one up front. For some reason, Dinamo didn't manage to loan out Dodo or Andrej Kramaric before the deadline.

Sibenik may have made a major gain in signing Cibalia's Zjelko Malcic. Malcic and the clubs other recent signing Niko Tokic are under pressure to find goals quickly, although Antonio Jakolis and Ivan Bozic should also contribute from the bench. Sibenik, like Zapresic look set for a long slog this season.

Zadar who appear to be ticking along nicely and have goals in Ivan Santini, Zelimir Terkes, Antonio Mrsic and Ivan Curjuric also added former player Dragan Zupan to their roster. Toni Pezo is also starting to make his presence felt in midfield. Tomislav Glumac has also been doing well in the backline. The club were linked with Dario Bodrusic who would be a good addition if they can sign him up.

Istra Pula also make some good additions. Brazilian Eliomar should provide a good link between midfield and attack. Sinisa Linic will also do a good job as a midfield reinforcer. Istra, however will need Asim Sehic to find his form and for Bosko Stupic and Edin Hadzic to start chipping in. Istra are also needing a lot from Armend Alimi, who is carrying a lot of weight on his shoulders.

Rijeka were in discussions with Ante Tomic, however Damir Krielach, Antonio Rukavina and Davor Landeka have been doing well in central midfield so far so they chose not to go ahead with the signing. Tomic ultimately signed with Slovenia's Luka Koper. Rijeka also had interest in their Montenegro international striker Radomir Dalovic. However they considered 500,000 Euro's a poultry sum in comparison to his worth to the team. Having sold the Pamic brothers in the summer, Rijeka have enough finance to last till the winter when Dalovic's value should have increased. Rijeka were also not able to make a quick deal so may be better preparing a replacement in four months time, most likely Ahmad Sharbini who is out of favor at Hajduk. There are however not enough free agents around the place for Rijeka to consider selling Dalovic. Ivan Bosnjak is the most proven Croat striker in free agent status, but his conditioning is not known. Rijeka did strengthen the defence bring Duje Bakovic, back to the club has may have developed during his time in Greece with Kavala and Egaeleo.

NK Varazdin surprisingly did not managed to obtain a sale. The club will be all hands on deck as they try to sale through financially difficult times. Roberto Puncec and Josip Brezovec have been on excellant form, however Dinamo Zagreb is the only Croatian team with money to spend and had their mind focused on buying abroad. Both may attract offers in the winter, but in the meantime Varazdin can look forward to a good season if their current crop of youngsters keep up their impressive work. Gordan Golik is believed to be on standby should Brezovec have moved abroad.

RNK Split saw no reason to make changes as are happy with their start to the season. Ivan Katilinac seems to have worked out that the way the survival in the Croatian league is by shaking the opponents net as regular as possible so invested in four strong strikers. Romano Oblinovic and Bojan Golubovic have been a revelation. Zvonimir Deranja also offers sounds support, whilst Saed Bucan is one of the signings of the summer so far.

Hrvatski Dragovoljac may have reasons to feel concerned. Davor Mladina has not been able to attract new players into the club and many free agents do not fit into their financial structure. Such players as Golik, Milan Pavlivic, Ronald Siklic and Mario Juric could prove handy. Posavec, Saric and Grgurovic are also available, but Dragovoljac appear disinterested in chasing their own tail like Medimurje did when falling into a financial mess last season.

Hajduk Split are expected to continue in the same way until winter which is good news to youngster Dinko Trebotic, Andriasejvic, Ante Vukusic and Duje Cop. Their is a large portion of Hajduk's squad who are satisfied with their status in the club and this is showing out on the pitch. The only two disattisfied is Ahmad Sharbini and Kreso Ljubicic, however this is expected to be settled in the winter with Ahmad likely to return to Rijeka.

Dinamo Zagreb meanwhile will be desperate to see how their new recruits perform out on the pitch. Fatos Beciraj is expected to lead the line, allowing Ante Rukavina to drop deeper. Pedro Morales will have to fight for his place alongside Etto and Ivan Tomecak. Jakub Sylvestr will start on the bench and have to work his way in. It is hard to see how Dodo and Andrej Kramaric have any chance of gaining first team action. Both players were needed at Zapresic and Karlovac, but Dinamo did not make the deal. Part of the reason for this is that Sylvestr is cup tied, whilst Miroslav Slepicka is laid low with illness and could also be heading out the exit door. This could therefore bring Kramaric or Mario Situm back into play.

UNRESOLVED

Transfer deadline passed with a number of players failing to secure moves to new clubs. Some news of deals may be known in the next 24 hours. However Darko Bodul is under threat of being left in Ajax Reserves as he was unable to secure his loan deal with Willem II.

Dino Drpic, meanwhile also will play a waiting game as no deal was made this week. Fortunately for the 28 year old defender his free agent status will work in his benefit and will in fact make him a more lucrative option to teams who can no longer purchase a contracted defender from another club. As long as Drpic remains off the pitch however he has no chance of playing with the Croatian national team.

At Hajduk Split, Galatasaray finally pulled out of their hunt for Senjad Ibricic after signing his fellow countryman Zjezdan Misimovic from Wolfsburg. Ahmad Sharbini will be increasingly uncomfortable with his status as Colombian forward Phil Jackson arrived. Similarly Kreso Ljubicic is out of the picture with Erwin Bulku, Srdjan Andric, Franko Andriasejvic, Dinko Trebotic, Marin Ljubijic and Mario Brkljaca leaving him no opportunity of getting into Hajduk's midfield.

One of the late transfers may involve another loan deal from Dinamo. Lokomotiva Zagreb may now be overcapacitated in attack, so only Karlovac can realistically take Andrej Kramaric on loan. Inter Zapresic meanwhile shelved interest in Luis Hilario Dodo after good form from Aleksandr Trajkovski during international break.

There is no news whatsoever surrounding defender Goran Sablic, who at 30 could be taking a break from the game due to injury problems. The same situation seems to fit Ivan Bosnjak, who has also experienced issues with injuries.

SIVONJIC THE MAJOR MOVER

In a relative quiet transfer window in HNL1, Ilija Sivonjic was the major deadline day deal going out on loan to Lokomotiva from Dinamo Zagreb. Although Sivonjic has links to Zapresic, Lokomotiva stepped in to take the striker which may be to his benefit as is low on confidence as a mid table side help him better than a relegation dogfight. Sivonjic was allowed to leave Dinamo after the club signed Montenegro striker Fatos Beciraj and Slovakia's Jakub Sylvestr. Sporting Lisbon defender Tonei also came to strengthen the defence.

Hajduk Split, meanwhile rejected high bids for Senijad Ibricic from Galatasaray and signed up Colombian forward Phil Jackson as striking cover. The deal does not help the situation of Ahmad Sharbini, who already sees little action. Kreso Ljubicic is also in limbo and did not gain a transfer before the deadline. Inter Zapresic may be disappointed as to why they were not thrown their usual loanee from Dinamo Zagreb. Zapresic instead turned to free agent Matija Matko, as Sivonjic was given to Lokomotiva. Dodo would have still suited Zapresic who have to hope that Arber Abilijaj can find some form.

Strikers were also hard to find for Sibenik, who signed up Cibalia's wantaway forward Zjelko Malcic. The 28 year old does have some goalscoring history and should be able to help them. Istra, meanwhile allowed Dragan Zupan to rejoin former club NK Zadar and instead signed up Brazilian Eliomar Dos Santos. The tricky Brazilian could prove a sound purchase that could inspire ailing forward Emir Hadzic, Bosko Stupic and Armend Alimi to find their form.

In Slovenia, former Lokeron striker Tomo Sokota and ex Dinamo teammate Ante Tomic is now officially off the radar of HNL1 clubs. Sokota has signed up with Olympija Ljubljana, whilst Tomic chose Slovenian Champions Luka Koper over HNK Rijeka. Karlovac, meanwhile have money to spend as sold Mario Baric to Gent and hope to invest in free agent Karlo Primorac.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

HNL1 SUMMER TRANSFERS

DINAMO ZAGREB
In: Arjan Ademi (Sibenik), Leonard Mesaric & Ivan Keleva (Lokomotiva), Almir Bekic (Sloboda), Ante Rukavina (Panathanaikos), Tonei (Sporting Lisbon), Jakub Silvestr (Slovan Bratislava), Fatos Beciraj (Buducnost Podgorica), Marin Skender (Zagreb)
Out: Robert Kovac (Retired), Ivan Turina (AIK Stockholm), Ivica Vrdoljak (Legia Warsaw), Mario Mandzukic (VfL Wolfsburg), Domogoj Antolic, Ilija Sivonjic & Almir Bekic (Lokomotiva), Dario Simic & Tomislav Butina (Retired), Ante Tomic (Luka Koper), Karlo Primorac (Karlovac)
Released: Gullermo Suarez, Sasko Pandev

HAJDUK SPLIT
In: Mario Brkljaca (Cagliari), Erwin Bulku (Krivbass)
Out: Josip Skoko (Melbourne Heart), Goran Rubil (Asteras Tripolis), Ivan Rodic (Rijeka), Mladen Pelaic (Osijek), Miro Varvodic (Koln), Ivo Smoje (Osijek), Vjekoslav Tomic, Ante Seric & Florin Cernat (Karabukspor), Dario Jertec (Al Fasalay), Boris Pandza (KV Mechelen), Toni Pezo (Zadar), Leopold Novak (Dragovoljac), Marko Livaja (Internaziole), Mario Ticinovic (Karlovac), Ivan Lendric (Zrinjski), Ante Aracic (Sibenik), Tedi Surac & Hjorve Tokic (Mosor)

CIBALIA
In: Stjepan Kvesic, Tomislav Culjak (Zadar), Tomislav Bozic (Suhopolje), Mladen Bartolovic (Foolad), Mato Masic, Frane Vitaic (HNK Split)
Out: Edin Husic (Karlovac), Tomislav Pavlivic (Maribor), Davor Bagaric (Slaven Belupo), Josip Lukacevic (Osijek), Josip Milardovic (Slaven Belupo), Davor Burscsa (Pomorac), Mario Antolovic (Legia Warsaw), Enor Puljic (Dilj), Zjelko Malcic (Sibenik)

KARLOVAC
In: Edin Husic (Cibalia), Viktor Spisic (Lok Sofia), Mark Zigman, Toni Golem & Ante Baterelo (Zapresic), Goran Divkovic (Moslavina), Hjorve Sunjerga (Dragovoljac), Goran Juros (Sesvete), Marko Spelic (Slunj), Mario Ticinovic (Karlovac), Igor Lovric (Istra 1961), Kenan Cejvanovic (Rijeka), Karlo Primorac (Osijek), Marijan Budimir (Zapresic)
Out: Nevan Vukman (Rijeka), Boris Bjelankovic (Celje), Mahir Iftic, Mauro Makita (Rovinj), Ivan Grabovac (Akshayik Yansk), Goran Bunoza (Wislaw Krakow), Duce V-Grgic (Imotski), Niko Tokic (Sibenik), Mario Baric (Gent)

OSIJEK
In: Ivo Smoje & Mladen Pelaic (Hajduk), Josip Lukacevic (Cibalia), Hjorve Bubalo (Medimurje), Igor Prijic (Pomorac), Zvonimir Mikulic (Olympik Osijek), Zoran Zvrsic (HASK), Milan Pavlicic
Out: Domogoj Vida (Bayer Leverkusen), Antonio Hrncevic & Goran Todorevic (Zapresic), Mario Dikic, Zvonimir Mikulic & Sasa Novakovic (Vukovar 91)

RIJEKA
In: Ivan Rodic (Hajduk), Kristjan Caval (Slaven Belupo), Radomir Dalovic (Rapid Bucarest), Marko Simanovic & Diego Vivulic (Orient), Robert Lisjak & Andro Vrluguja (Istra 1961), Nevan Vukman (Karlovac), Antonio Rukavina (Kastrioti), Tomislav Pelin (Slaven Belupo), Drazen Plcic (Grobnican), Duje Bakovic (Egaeleo)
Out: Zvonko Pamic (Bayer Leverkusen), Ramon Fernandez (Estudiantes), Tarik Ceric (Sibenik), Matija Matko (Zapresic), Vlad Lazarevski (Lokomotiv Astana), Vedran Turkalj (Pomorac), Alen Pamic (Standard Liege), Ivan Mance (Maccabi Petach Tikvah), Diego Vivulic (Pomorac), Velimir Radman (Panasekeros), Dominik Mohorovic (Sesvete), Mario Tadajevic (Pomorac), Adnan Hodzic (Crikvenica), Kenan Cejvanovic (Karlovac), Mislav Karoglan (Imotski), Matej Sucurovic (Ikok), Marin Datkovic (Novaljia)

ZAPRESIC
In: Aleksander Trajkovski (Skopje), Alilabaj Arber (Tirana), Goran Todorcev & Antonio Hrncevic (Osijek), Adrian Valentic (Medimurje), Ivan Herceg (Lokomotiva), Ibrahim N'Doye (Jarraff), Stjepan Babic (Zagreb), Matija Matko (Rijeka)
Out: Ilija Sivonjic & Guillermo Suarez (Dinamo), Matej Delac (Chelsea), Marijan Budimir, Ante Baratelo & Toni Golem (Karlovac), Mark Zigman (Vrapce), Emmanuel Gamarra, Tomislav Ceraj (Retired), Silvio Cavric (KF Laksi), Tomislav Labdurovic (Slaven Belupo), Mario Rasic, Luka Kundjunzia (Pomorac), Miroslav Saric, Tomislav Zivko (Zelina), Hjorve Jurina (Sesvete)

VARTEKS
In: Fehar Dudic (Travnik), Mario Sacer (Hajduk), Adnan Aganovic (Medimurje), Matija Katanec (HIT Gorica), Davor Vugrinec (Zagreb), Nikola Safaric (Belupo)
Out: Matija Smrekar (Sedan), Luka Jagajic (Pomorac), Nikola Frljuzec (Dragovoljac), Milenko Mumlek, Zoran Ivancic, Andrija Balajic, Luka Besenic (Medimurje), Ivan Jolic (Skenderbeu)

SIBENIK
In: Tarik Ceric (Rijeka), Ivan Juric (Iskra), Drazen Govic (Brantford Galaxy), Daniel Georgievski and Amauri Vicente (Medimurje), Marko Kartelo (Zagreb), Ante Aracic (Hajduk), Niko Tokic (Karlovac), Luka Gusic (Duhopolje), Zjelko Malcic (Cibalia)
Out: Arjan Ademi (Dinamo), Ermin Zec (Genclerbirigli), Velimir Vidic (RNK Split), Adnan Likic (Sesvete), Jusuf Dajic (Sloboda Tuzla), Kresimir Makarin (Solin), Petar Basic, Senid Kulacic, Sandrok Bloudek (OH Leuven)

RNK SPLIT
In: Velimir Vidic & Igor Budisa (Sibenik), Zvonimir Deranja (Mouscron), Saed Bucan & Predrag Simic (Zeljeznicar), Romano Oblinovic & Daniel Rasic (Imotski), Bojan Golubovic (Medimurje), Shpat Qerimi (Noderstedt)
Out: Dalibor Mandaric & Ante Capin (Imotski), Branimir Borozan & Tomislav Miljak (Solin), Ante Puljiz & Stipe Barac (Junak Sinj), Frane Vitaic (Cibalia)

ZADAR
In: Marin Con (Pomorac), Niko Periac & Marko Gospic (Rastane), Toni Pezo (Hajduk), Dragan Zupan (Istra)
Out: Bruno Sikilic (Chongquin Lifan), Davor Piskor (Sesvete), Marko Anic (Primorac), Sime Maruna (Rastane), Tomislav Culjak (Cibalia), Jakov Surac, Ante Mitrovic (Rastane)

SLAVEN BELUPO
In: Davor Bagaric (Cibalia), Tomislav Busic (Maccabi Petach Tikvah), Tomislav Labdurovic (Zapresic), Stjepan Poljak (Eshskirespor), Josip Milardovic (Cibalia), Adis Nurkovic (Travnik)
Out: Mario Juric, Kristjan Caval (Rijeka), Nikola Safaric (Varazdin), Srebrenko Posavec, Tomislav Pelin (Rijeka)

ISTRA PULA 1961
In: Hjorve Kovacevic (Herzliya), Andrej Prskalo (Rijeka), Mateo Susic & Igor Zurzinov (Zrinjski), Leo Plecic (Krk), Emir Hadzic (Panetolikis), Josip Skoric (Zagreb), Sinisa Linic (Bnei Yehuda), Eliomar (Medimurje)
Out: Dario Bodrusic, Dragan Tadic (Novaljia), Andro Vrluguja & Robert Lisjak (Rijeka), Khallilou Traore (Odense), Eldin Masic (Gradacac), Doni Tonkovic (Rovinj), Sevko Okic (Velez Mostar), Igor Lovric (Karlovac), Dragan Zupan (Zadar)

HRVATSKI DRAGOVOLJAC
In: Ivan Covic (Zapresic), Nikola Frljuzec (Varteks), Hjorve Lerga (Stupnik), Filip Jazvic (Moslavina), Plumb Jusufi (Kastriote), Hjorve Markovic (Medimurje), Leopold Novak (Hajduk), Dario Smoje (Pananios), Darko Cordas, Alen Mesanovic (Zeljeznicar)
Out: Ksevan Santini (Inter Zapresic), Jhonnes (Liepajas)

NK ZAGREB
In: Goran Basic (Lucko), Hjorve Visic (Solin), Xhevahir Sukaj (Orduspor), Dens Maia James (Slavia Prague)
Out: Marin Skender (Dinamo), Josip Skoric (Istra Pula 1961), Goran Ljubojevic (AIK Stockholm), Marko Kartelo (Sibenik), Marin Vidosevic (Imotski), Davor Vugrinec (Varazdin), Stjepan Babic (Zapresic)

LOKOMOTIVA
In: Mislav Komorski, Almir Bekic & Frano Mlinar (Dinamo), Elvis Saric (Lucko), Marko Trojak (Drava), Marin Spoljaric (Lucko), Domagoj Antolic & Ilija Sivonjic (Dinamo), Ivan Sesar (Koper)
Out: Ivan Herceg (Zapresic), Dalibor Pandza & Petar Franjic (Radnik Sesvete), Matej Delic (Lucko), Ivan Lovric (Sesvete), Josip Gegic (Gorica), Tomislav Puljic (Luzern), Krunoslav Hendrija (ZET), Filip Screbec (Rudes), Gheorghe Andronic (Gorica), Ivan Keleva (Dinamo)

SERTIC GOES TO LENS

Bordeaux have sent French born Croat Gregory Sertic on loan for the season to Ligue 1 side Lens. The 20 year old midfielder who is eligible for Croatia and France had a season curtailed by injury last season and is in need of regular football.

Stipe Pletikosa meanwhile has finally joined Tottenham Hotspur from Spartak Moscow. However the situation is far from simple for Pletikosa as Aurelio Gomes is a secure first choice, whilst Carlo Cuducini has returned to full fitness after a motor cycle accident.

Elsewhere Tomislav Sokota signed with Slovenian club Olympija Ljubljana after a move to OA Kavala fell through. Karlovac meanwhile made a sale with Mario Baric joining Gent for compensation in the region of 300,000 Euro's. Igor Budan signed with Italian Serie A new comers Cesana from Palermo. VfB Stuggart and Liverpool attempted to purchase HSV's Mladen Petric. However bids were rejected.

Drago Gabric has complete a surprise move from Trabzonspor to Ankaragucu. The Croatian international was under threat for his national team place from Kaiserslautern's Ivo Ilicevic and Club Brugge Ivan Perisic so has signed on loan to secure first team status. Domagoj Abramovic, mwanwhile lasted barely a month at OFI Crete and has signed instead for Pierikos Katerini of the Greek second division.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

HNL1 ROUND 6

ZAPRESIC 5 LOKOMOTIVA 0 (Hrncevic, Orsic, Bosec, Palic 2)
RIJEKA 2 SLAVEN BELUPO 1 (Strok, Kreilach/ Delic)
ZADAR 2 ZAGREB 1 (Sare/ Sukaj)
VARAZDIN 1 KARLOVAC 0 (Brezovec)
SIBENIK 2 ISTRA 2 (Grgic, Alispahic/ Andjelkovic, Pauletic)
OSIJEK 1 DRAGOVOLJAC 1 (Barisic/ Svaric)
SPLIT 1 HAJDUK 1 (Golubovic/ Vukusic)
DINAMO 2 CIBALIA 0 (Vrsaljko, Tomecak)

Dinamo are back in the top three and just a point behind Hajduk Split after defeating Cibalia 2-0. Sime Vrsaljko, who is covering at left back and the returning Ivan Tomecak scored the goals. Dinamo restored Pedro Morales to the side and also gave a run out to Ilija Sivonjic. Etto continues to function in a attacking role. Luis Ibanez and Adrian Callelo has dropped to the bench. Dinamo will soon have to make a decision on front men Sivonjic and Dodo, following the arrival of Jakub Silvestr from Slovan Bratislava.

Rijeka remain unbeaten after six games after defeating Slaven Belupo 2-1. In form duo Hjorve Strok and Damir Kreilach collected there goals, with young prospect Mateas Delic netting for Belupo. Zagreb meanwhile had their first loss, as they went down 2-1 to Zadar. Zadar under the guidance of Dalibor Zebic remain a steady HNL1 club. Albanian Xhevahir Sukaj scored his first goal for Zagreb.

Varazdin have moved upto 5th place after a excellant 1-0 win over Karlovac. Varazdin were expected to be highly beleaguered this season. However the club have been inspired by former players Davor Vugrinec and now Nikola Safaric returning to their aid and have fallen upon on a good crop of young players. Goalscorer Josip Brezovec is the picked of the bunch at present and could even transfer abroad before the transfer deadline this week.

Down near the bottom of the table Istra Pula and Inter Zapresic are finally showing signs of life. Zapresic took advantage of 3 red cards for Lokomotiva to record a 5-0 victory. Croatia Under 21 international Antun Palic scored twice. Istra Pula meanwhile have finally laid their hands on new signings and recorded a 2-2 draw with Sibenik, who gave a debut to Niko Tokic. Istra announced the signing of former Hajduk midfielder Sinisa Linic and also intend to recruit Medimurje Brazilian playmaker Eliomar at the start of the week. Dragovoljac also recorded a point drawing 1-1 with out of form Osijek who this week announced Robert Spehar as their new president.

TRANSFER ACTIVITY
Zapresic and Istra are expected to be engaged in transfer activity at the start of the week. Zapresic may be recieving Dinamo's Ilija Sivonjic or Dodo if Dinamo are successful in the purchase of Lokomotive Moscow forward Fall or Ergotelis's Mario Budimir. Both players are likely to cost over 1.5m Euro's to sign. Budimir and Fall however have a first team place at his club and may gain better moves by staying another season in Russia and Greece respectively.

Rijeka and Hajduk will focus on keeping their sides togethers rather than selling, though Hajduk's Kresimir Ljubicic may be made available for loan. Galatasaray are likely to place a bid for Senijad Ibricic for around 10m Euro's, if Schalke beat them to the signing of countryman Zvejezdan Misimovic. Fortunately for Hajduk reports suggest the Turkish club are close to signing Misimovic. Rijeka are attempting to stave off interest from Amkar Perm and Sheffield Wednesday in their Montenegrin international striker Radomir Dalovic.

Friday, 27 August 2010

TOO HOT TO KEEP

Montenegrin international Radomir Dalovic is the main subject of transfer activity in Croatia, with days left till the deadline. The 27 year old has an impressive record at Rijeka and is seen as essential to the teams ambitions of a top 3 finish this year. Playing off Dalovic has also revived Ivan Rodic, but Rijeka are not eager to rely purely on Rodic alone.

Dalovic is recognised by many as the best striker in HNL1 at the moment. 500,000 Euro's from Amkar Perm was not enough to bring Dalovic. Although the Russian league is a suitable home for Dalovic, Rijeka rate the player nearer the 1m Euro mark which is acceptable for a scorer of goals at international level.

Rijeka will also not have much time to react to purchase a new striker should they wish to buy from another club. Ahmad Sharbini for example, would be a realistic quick fire venture. If they do sell they'd have to look for free agents so Tomislav Sokota and Ivan Bosnjak could come high on the agenda. It would also allow them to tie up a deal for ex player Sinisa Linic. It will be interesting to see what approach Rijeka take. Most likely the club will wait till the winter transfer window.

CROATIA: TRANSFER DEADLINE SUMMARY

With just days left till the summer transfer window closes across Europe, there is likely to be few Croatians on the move. As Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split qualified for the Europa Liga group stage there is unlikely to be any major departures. Any deals taking place are set to centre around young Croats seeking loans.

The most high profile is Mario Gavranovic. The 20 year old Switzerland Under 21 international is in need of first team football to aid his progress. He is currently turning out for Schalke's second team and is behind Raul, Jefferson Farfan and Edu for a striking position. Gavranovic could move out on loan to another Bundesliga club.

Darko Bodul, of Ajax is also available for loan. No clubs have been mentioned so far, but Martin Jol will be eager to see the 20 year old move away as soon as possible to avoid stagnation. Dario Knezevic is only experienced Croatian international likely to go, although he is being used by Livorno in the meantime. Knezevic has offers from Bari, Cesana and Olympiakos.

Dino Drpic, Ivan Bosnjak and Goran Sablic are all still without a club, but they are able to transfer after the deadline. There is no news on Bosnjak or Sablic, however Drpic has interest from Sporting Gijon and Olympiakos, whilst Sokota's deal with OA Kavala appears to have fallen through. The player was seen visiting Olympic Ljubjlana which has led to speculation in Slovenia.

In Croatia, Varazdin are happy to consider a transfer for their star midfielder Josip Brezovec. Rijeka meanwhile rejected a switch from Russian club Amkar Perm for Radomir Dalovic who is also wanted by an unnamed English club. Dalovic, who is arguably playing below his level would suit a switch to Russia. The English Premier League side could be Blackpool who would be a suitable fit for Dalovic. Rijeka however are believed to want 1m Euro's for the Montenegrin international. Should Dalovic transfer then Sokota and Bosnjak could be high on their wanted list. Rijeka are in talks with Ante Tomic and expect to sign him this week along with defender Duje Bakovic.

Domestic transfers are unlikely to stop in the Croatian league on the deadline as most HNL1 clubs purchase free agents. Miroslav Saric, Srebrenko Posavec, Marko Maric and Gordan Golik will therefore be hot property from next week. Dinamo will however have to make a decision on any unwanted players such as Dodo who is wanted by Inter Zapresic. Zapresic keeper Matej Delac has also now left the club to go to Chelsea and has been loaned out to Vitesse Arnhem.

Cibalia, Karlovac, Istra Pula and Sibenik have stated their intent to bring in a player in the next week. Karlovac are rumoured to be keen on striker Karlo Primorac. Sibenik will sign 28 year old forward Drazen Jelic. Istra Pula recruited Sinisa Linic and Brazilian Eliomar having had a loan request for Mathias Chago rejected. Cibalia meanwhile have unexpected issues of player insubordination, with Zjelko Malcic and Vlatko Simunac resultantly being dropped. Simunac is suspended, whilst Malcic has been sold to Sibenik. Stanko Mrsic is happy with Dino Kresinger, Mladen Bartolovic and Ivica Baraban. Srebrenko Posavec and Miroslav Saric could become a target however as Mrsic wants a playmaker. In HNL2 Davor Piskor and Mario Juric are set to sign for Croatia Sesvete.

Friday, 20 August 2010

HNL1 ROUND 5

NK ZAGREB 2 ZAPRESIC 1 (Kristanovic 2/ Babic)
VARAZDIN 2 DRAGOVOLJAC 0 (Golubar, Dudic)
ISTRA 1 OSIJEK 2 (Alimi/ Pusic, Kvrzic)
LOKOMOTIVA 0 SIBENIK 0
CIBALIA 0 SPLIT 1 (Sedarusic)
KARLOVAC 0 RIJEKA 1 (Svrljuga)
HAJDUK 4 ZADAR 1 (Tomasov, Ibricic, Vukusic 2/ Pezo)
BEKUPO 0 DINAMO 2 (Rukavina, Sammir)

Hajduk Split stay top of the Croatian league after a thumping 4-1 win over Zadar. Ante Vukusic continued his scoring sequence netting twice. Dinamo also claimed a good victory beating Slaven Belupo 2-0. Ante Rukavina scored his sixth goal for his new club.

NK Rijeka kept up their good start by defeating Karlovac 1-0 thanks to in form Andro Svrljuga's strike. Split have also took to life well in HNL1. Split defeated Cibalia away from home thanks to Josip Sedarusic's goal. Varazdin also are showing promise and comfortably defeated Dragovoljac 2-0 with Golubar and Dudic netting.

NK Zagreb got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory of Inter Zapresic. Zapresic are on horrific form under Ilija Loncarevic. Former Zagreb player Stjepan Babic scored first for Zapresic, but HNL1 leading scorer Ivan Kristanovic netted twice to turn the match around.

Sibenik are still struggling in front of goal drawing nil nil with a difficult Lokomotiva side. Osijek however finally have lift off under new coach Branko Karacic as they defeated Istra Pula.

DINAMO AND HAJDUK SET FOR EUROPA LIGA

Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split have given domestic Croatian league football a boost by comfortably winning their final first leg Europa Liga qualifying games. Hajduk Split were outstanding in a 4-1 win over Unirea, whilst Ante Rukavina netted twice to help Dinamo defeat Gyor 2-0 away from home.

Hajduk and coach Stanko Poklepovic can be particularly pleased with their work this summer and during the season so far. Hajduk halved a squad of 30 plus players in June and have since injected youthful promise of players such as Ante Rezic, Ante Vukusic, Franko Andriasejvic, Dinko Trebotic and Duje Cop. Mario Brkljaca has also come good for Hajduk in recent weeks after two seasons spent in obscurity. Senijad Ibricic remains the teams star and is unlikely to move anywhere whilst Hajduk stay in Europa Liga competition. Although as a special player a extraordinary bid and opportunity to get to a big team won't be declined. Hajduk's recruitment of midfielder Erwin Bulku seems excessive, so Hajduk fans will hope Srdjan Andric is not pushed forward to fill Ibricic's role if the Bosnian international is suddenly sold on transfer deadline.

Dinamo meanwhile are still lacking in attacking despite the strong form of Ante Rukavina and the return of Pedro Morales. Cover is still threadbear however with Miroslav Slepicka, Ilija Sivonjic and Dodo floundering to impress. Inter Zapresic are crying out for a striker like Sivonjic or Dodo to return having suffered since they departed. Dinamo meanwhile could be becoming interested by Zapresic playmaker Antun Palic who impressed for the Croatia Under 21's and may do a deal. Dinamo have a midfield vacancy having released Ante Tomic and loaned out Domagoj Antolic.

ZAPRESIC TO ASK FOR LOANEES

Inter Zapresic are set to enquire with Dinamo Zagreb in midweek for a striker on loan having failed to score a goal in any of their games so far this season. New signing Arber Abililiaj has been a major disappointment and the club would benefit from transfering him back to Albania.

Zapresic were expected to target former player Ilija Sivonjic. However Sivonjic is currently banned from participating until club doctors understand why the player collapsed for a second time last week. Dinamo could send Dodo down the Zapresic, as Ante Rukavina, Pedro Morales, Miroslav Slepicka and Andrej Kramaric are all ahead of them in the striking pecking order at the Maksimir Stadium. However Slepicka is also believed to have fitness issues and alternative forward Mario Situm is also injured.

Dinamo also expected to recieve a call from Istra Pula enquiring as to the availability of Mathias Chago and Ante Tomic. Chago, has featured and impressed in Dinamo's games so far and it would be a surprise to see the 27 year old Cameroon international leave. However Ante Tomic has not played all season and has been inactive for some time now. A loan for Tomic would benefit both player and club. Apart from that it isn't thought any Dinamo player is available for transfer. In attack Istra may consider Asim Sehic, Bosko Stupic and Emir Hadzic sufficient, but are look for midfielders to make the play.

Sibenik have also not scored a goal. Having fixed the defence, they will turn their attention to signing a striker to help 18 year old youngster Antonio Jakolis, who is struggling to fill in the boots of departed Ermin Zec. Mario Juric, should prove good cover, but Sibenik still require one more. Few forwards are available, but Brazilian Eliomar stands out.

Cibalia are going nicely with two wins and draws and no goals conceded, but Stanko Mrsic is still believed to want a creative midfielder. Srebrenko Posavec, Mario Grgurovic or Miroslav Saric could become targets in the coming weeks to fill the vacancy. Rijeka could also add a midfielder and will be greatly attracted by the availability of former player Sinisa Linic.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

BIG DEALS SET TO GO THROUGH

Croatian international Nikica Jelavic will make his move from Rapid Vienna to Glasgow Rangers this week once he completes his medical. Rapid granted the striker his move to Ibrox for around 5m Euro's. The Scottish Premier League is only a slight upgrade on the Austrian league due to the presence of Rangers and Celtic, however Jelavic is hoping his transfer will ultimately lead to a deal in the English Premiership.

Jelavic is the second Croatia player to transfer following midfielder Tomislav Dujmovic's switch from Lokomotive Moscow to Dinamo Moscow. Stipe Pletikosa is training with Tottenham Hotspur ahead of his arrival in England from Spartak Moscow. With one week before transfer deadline, Igor Budan is likely to sign with Cesana from Palermo. Dario Knezevic, meanwhile is still deciding on his new club from Livorno.

Meanwhile Greek Ethniki B side Levadiakos have bought the contract of Zdravko Popovic from Atromotis. The 26 year old will lead the sides attack in their bid for promotion.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

WORK FOR HALILHODZIC

New coach Vahid Halilhodzic will not get very long to settle into his post at Dinamo Zagreb with an all important Europa Liga qualifier against Gyor and transfer deadline both on his agenda in the next fortnight.

Halilhodzic will need to make snap decisions on his squad as to who he wants to keep and who he wants to let go. He is expected to recieve two requests for loans this week from Istra Pula and Inter Zapresic. Zapresic want a striker, either Dodo or the currently health striken Ilija Sivonjic. Istra are looking to test Dinamo's judgement by asking for in form Mathias Chago, but could be sent out of practice Ante Tomic instead.

Halilhodzic also must decide whether to accept unknown properties targeted by Zoran Mamic (Slovakian Salata or Chile's Pinalla) or whether to look for more ambitious prospects. Dinamo are currently holding a potential bargaining tool in Miroslav Slepicka who continues to struggle for his best form at Dinamo Zagreb. Dinamo need both a striker and a defender and in the Czech Republic there are three players who could serve the club well for a long period.

Andrej Keric, 24 was the Czech leagues highest scorer in 2008/09 season scoring 16 goals for Slovan Liberec. He has already started this season on fine form with 3 goals in 4 games. Liberec are desperate for an offer as the striker is out of contract in the summer 2011. Should Dinamo offer recent Czech international Slepicka along with 1m Euro for Keric and his Croatian Under 19 colleague Renato Kelic they could make a deal which would solve two of there biggest problems.

Keric and Kelic also have potential to be sold and move to a much bigger league in future. Although Dinamo purchased Ante Rukavina, the player appears to prefer to play off a main striker. However Dinamo's other forwards Dodo and Slepicka have struggled to find the net. Slepicka has only 2 goals, whilst Dodo has not scored at all in 7 matches this season. Keric is a naturally scorer who compares in playing style to Ivica Olic and will add whole new dimensions to Dinamo's game. A front three of Pedro Morales, Ante Rukavina and Andrej Keric could take Dinamo that bit further in the Europa Liga. With Andrej Kramaric and Mario Situm covering, Dinamo would look a much better attacking proposition.

At centre back, Dinamo arguably have two aging defenders in decline. Igor Biscan and Leandro Cufre are both 32 and are unlikely to have their contract renewed in 2011. Renato Kelic has shades of Vedran Corluka. At 18 he has already broken into the Liberec team and has the captains armband at Under 19 level for Croatia. Dinamo's foriegn signing policy is currently causing fans to boycott the team and such players as Kelic and Keric may help to turn their head. For Keric, he may be miffed as to why 16 goals in Czech Republic has only gained him interest from Konjaspor. Two good seasons in Croatia however could do a lot more for him with regards attracting much bigger clubs as it did for Mario Mandzukic. Playing at Dinamo would also help him gain the attention of national team coach Slaven Bilic.

Should Liberec not bite, Dinamo alternatively could try Slepicka in a swap deal for Sparta Prague left back Manuel Pamic. Dinamo missed out on Pamic when the player went to Sparta. Although Luis Ibanez has talent in an offensive capacity, he has struggled at left back. Dinamo seem more than settled on right defense and right midfield, defensive midfield is working well and creative midfielders Sammir and Badelj are prize assets. Halilhodzic will quickly find however he needs a centre back and a striker, but agreeing to another foriegn buy will not help his popularity. In HNL1 Dinamo appear to have enough talent at Lokomotiva to tap into rather than considering purchasing from their Liga 16 counterparts. However left back Roberto Puncec could prove an asset for the future and could be worth signing from Varazdin.

Dinamo are unlikely to move for a second centre back till the winter, but Myttlldland's Kristjan Ipsa is worth monitoring as has impressed since moving to Denmark.

Monday, 16 August 2010

OSIJEK GET KARACIC

NK Osijek have appointed Branko Karacic as their new coach, after a poor start to the season cost Tomislav Steinbuckner his job. Karacic guided Sibenik to fourth last season as well as the final of the Croatian Cup. Osijek are still struggling to score goals, despite having five decent attackers on their books in Ivan Milicevic, Josip Barisic, Vedran Niksic, Anton Maglica and Igor Prjic. They also have Karlo Primorac, Marijan Vuka and Marin Skender training with them, but it isn't known if Osijek were look to them to solve some of their issues.

One club who will make a major gain is NK Varazdin, who look to agree a contract with midfielder Nikola Safaric. The experienced 29 year old will give a significant boost to the club who also signed Davor Vugrinec last month. Safaric was one of the best Croatian players left on the free agent market. Varazdin ideally need to move one player out to fund their season, with Josip Brezovec and Roberto Puncec currently there key assets.

It isn't expected Brazilian Eliomar or midfield playmaker Srebrenko Posavec will stay available for long either. Left back Ronald Siklic and forward Ivan Bosnjak also still have a lot to offer a HNL1 side.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

HNL1 ROUND 4

RIJEKA 1 VARAZDIN 1 (Rodic/ Glavica)
DINAMO 4 KARLOVAC 2 (Sammir 2, Kramaric, Rukavina/ Ticinovic, Spisic)
SPLIT 3 SLAVEN BELUPO 0 (Oblinovic, Golubovic, Seradusic)
ZADAR 0 CIBALIA 0
SIBENIK 0 ZAGREB 1 (Jurendic)
OSIJEK 0 LOKOMOTIVA 0
ZAPRESIC 0 HAJDUK 5 (Anas, Vukusic 2, Tomasov, Cop)

Hajduk Split moved to the top of the Croatian league after a 5-0 pounding of out of form Zapresic. Hajduk's Ante Vukusic has been on excellant form since international duty and claimed two more goals. In form Marin Tomasov also collected one. Tomasov has a secure place at right wing, with Mirko Oremus dropping to right back. Stanko Poklepovic has also been blooding youngsters in recent weeks with Dinko Trebotic and lately Franko Andriasejvic being given a chance.

Hajduk moved ahead of Rijeka on goal difference, who nevertheless remain unbeaten. Rijeka were held to a 1-1 draw by Varazdin. Ivan Rodic scored for Rijeka, with Dejan Glavica netting for a second successful weekend for Varazdin. Slaven Belupo were surprisingly beaten by HNL1 danger side RNK Split. Ivan Katilinic's men have lost twice but thumped Varazdin two weeks ago and now overwhelmed Belupo 3-0. Split are benefitting at present through having a number of decent goalgetters. Romano Oblinovic and Bojan Golubovic both got the on the scoresheet.

No such luck however for Osijek or Sibenik, who would love to have RNK Split's firepower. Osijek once again came up short drawing 0-0 with Lokomotiva who will happily take a point. Sibenik have worser problems in attack losing out to Jurendic's goal for in form Zagreb. Zagreb are now in third place. Similarly to Rijeka and Hajduk they are also unbeaten. Sibenik are attempting to rectify their problems with signings, but thus far have only been able to strengthen in defence with Marko Kartelo and Ante Aracic signing last week. It is expected that ex Belupo striker Mario Juric will arrive in the coming week, alongside another unnamed forward. Cibalia and Zadar played out a goalless draw which does no real harm for either side.

Dinamo Zagreb got back to winning ways with a 4-2 win over Karlovac. Sammir continued his good form with two goals. Andrej Kramaric staked his claim for a place by netting after coming on as a second half substitute. Ante Rukavina also scored his second goal in two games. Pedro Morales was restored to the starting line up, whilst Ivan Tomecak also returned from illness. For Karlovac Mario Ticinovic scored on his debut following his loan move from Hajduk Split. Dinamo gave playing time to Dodo, but he was once again without a goal, this being his seventh match to fail to find the net. Zapresic may enquire this week about a long term loan with Dodo or Ilija Sivonjic.

Hrvatski Dragovoljac and Istra Pula are still without a win as both sides played out a 1-1 draw. Svarcic put Dragovoljac ahead, but Bosko Stupcic was on hand to equalise in the last minute. Both team have to recruit new players to stand any chance of staying up. If not for Osijek and Sibenik's slow start both sides would already be cut adrift. Istra will enquire this week with Dinamo on the availability of Mathias Chago. They are also missing Dario Bodrusic whose contract experience at the end of last season.

Friday, 13 August 2010

SIBENIK MAKE REINFORCEMENTS

HNK Sibenik continue to revamp their squad as they make up for lost time in replacing Ermin Zec, Arjan Ademi, Igor Budisa and Velimir Vidic. Sibenik recieved ample money from Zec and Ademi to recruit new playing staff however deals are only just being reached with their prize targets.

Medimurje defenders Daniel Georgievski and Amauri Vicente were first to arrive. Next to follow with Hajduk Split defender Ante Aracic and today Sibenik announced the signed of Zagreb midfielder Marko Kartelo. Two more players are expected to arrive next week. Mario Juric is likely to be one of them. Sibenik certainly need a striker having lost Senid Kulacic, Kresimir Makarin, Jusuf Dajic as well as Zec. Juric, at 33 may not be able to make a huge difference in attack, but could be a useful squad member.

It isn't known who the other recruit will be. However potential additions could be Medimurje's Eliomar or Croatia Sesvete attacker Marko Guja. Sibenik ideally could do with using some of their finance to acquire a number 9. A loan move for Dinamo Zagreb's Dodo or paying out of Istra's Asim Sehic for example could work out.

HNL1 POTENTIAL MOVERS

With transfer deadline just two weeks away time is running out for Croatian teams to make any emergency sales or purchases of contracted players.

Although Dinamo Zagreb sold Mario Mandzukic to Wolfsburg, they spent almost half of it on acquiring Ante Rukavina. The club have interest from Olympic Lyon in Milan Badelj for around 8 million pounds which could lead to the players transfer. Dinamo do not have an immediate ball carrying replacement in the club. Sammir acts as a playmaker, whilst Arjan Ademi and Adrian Callelo are strictly defensive midfielders. The only off the wall idea would be to employ Luis Ibanez on the left side of a central three, so Dinamo would have to recruit. Said Husejinovic was a loan target from Werder Bremen, whilst Frieburg's Ivica Banovic could prove useful.

Dinamo do not have to sell Badelj, however Hajduk could do with the finance from the sale of either Senijad Ibricic or Ivan Strinic. PSG are the latest club to be linked with Strinic alongside Zenit and Koln. Ibricic is wanted by Rubin Kazan, but Hajduk may be prepared to wait till January after the player has showcased his talents in Europa Liga. Should Strinic transfer, they would look for a left back. However Dinamo also need a left back so Varazdin's Roberto Puncec could become a target. Varazdin desperately need the money and also willing to listen to offers for Josip Brezovec. If either go Varazdin may replace them with Nikola Safaric or Gordan Golik.

Hajduk could turn to Sibenik's Mehmad Alispahic should Ibricic transfer who is also wanted by Mainz and Monchengladback. Sibenik are not in urgent need for a sale as already sold Ademi and Zec and have struggled to find adequate replacements. Slaven Belupo and Osijek are also not in a selling situation, so Elvis Kokalovic and Ivan Milicevic are unlikely to go anywhere.

Rijeka on the other hand could consider a deal for Radomir Dalovic who is proven in HNL1 and is now scoring regularly at international level. Should Dalovic leave it could require two strikers to replace him from the free agent market with Ivan Bosnjak the most realistic. It would also help to finance a deal for Ramon Fernandes. Zadar's Ivan Santini could also attract Rijeka's should Dalovic move away.

Apart from this opportunities for transfers are not extensive. Interest from Poland in Istra's Asim Sehic seems to have cooled. It is more likely HNL1 teams will recruit free agents rather than be selling with the likes of Nikola Safaric, Srebrenko Posavec, Mario Juric, Karlo Primorac, Miroslav Saric, Gordan Golik, Marko Maric and Mario Grgurovic being share around the clubs.