Friday, 28 May 2010


Dinamo Zagreb have appointed Velimir Zajec as their new coach, after Krunoslav Jurcic resigned from the post. Zajec a former manager of Portsmouth FC has been heavily affiliated in his career with either Dinamo or Panathanaikos in one capacity or another. The club are also chasing the signature of Arjan Ademi from Sibenik to replace Ivica Vrdoljak who joins Legia Warsaw for 1.5m Euros. Ademi is a highly rated 18 year who plays with the Croatian Under 19 side.

Ademi would be the clubs second big name to transfer after Ermin Zec signed for Turkish club Genclerbirigli for 2m Euro. The move follows Osijek's Domogoj Vida's move to Bayer Leverkusen and Zvonko Pamic's switch from Rijeka to the same club which is helping to improve the general finances of teams in HNL1.

Osijek are hoping to spend a very small percentage of the money on recruiting former captain Ivo Smoje and Mladen Pelaic from Hajduk Split. The club have also held talks with Stjepan Tomas, but the 34 year old defender instead signed for newly promoted Turkish club Bucaspor.

RNK Split meanwhile have appointed Ivan Katalinic as there new coach and have immediately begun looking for new signings. Velimir Vidic and Igor Budisa have joined up from Sibenik, along with strikers Zvonimir Deranja and Imotski's goalgetters Romano Oblinovic.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


Hajduk Split have begun their summer transfer activity with Josip Skoko and Goran Rubil heading out. 34 year old Skoko signs with Melbourne Heart after a successful return to the Croatian club. Rubil who also enjoyed a positive season has signed with Asteras Tripolis in Greece, who look set to lose Daniel Cesarec.

Hajduk appear to be beginning their search for reinforcements by aiming high. Genclerbirigli target Ermin Zec is on a wishlist along with Palermo's Igor Budan and Ergotelis forward Mario Budimir. Budan, who scored 7 goals with the Europa Liga qualifiers this season would require a sizable offer as the former Croatian international was signed for 5m Euro's by Palermo only two seasons ago and may have other offers within Serie A. Budimir on the other is a promising young forward who netted 6 goals this season and is highly regarded for his hold up play. Ergotelis have their ex Sibenik striker under contract and will be looking for a sizable fee. Hajduk would seemingly find it hard to win the chase for any one of the trio.

Newly capped Hajduk defender Jurica Buljat is also attracting interest from abroad. It is believed the club may be ready offer a return to outcast former Croatia defenders Hjorve Vejic and Marijan Buljat, who agreed to reduce their wage. There return may also be helped by the release of Mladen Pelaic, Toni Pezo and the forementioned Rubil and Skoko. Hajduk also have terminated the contract of striker Ivan Rodic, with Varteks target Dario Jertec expected to follow once the club have transferred star player Senijad Ibricic.

Ante Seric meanwhile could be transfered to Turkey or South Korea whilst Ivo Smoje is likely to move to another Croatian team. Ante Aracic, Kreso Ljubicic and Mario Brkljaca could all come back into the reckoning should Ivan Strinic, Mario Ticinovic and Marko Livaja transfer to Serie A. One player who may however be on the exit door is Ahmad Sharbini. The ex Rijeka forward who may become a target for his former club having fallen behind youngsters Ante Vukusic and Duje Cop in striking pecking order. Hajduk also want a new number 9 in the summer. A move back to Rijeka may rejuvenate the player, though Hajduk would ideally prefer to sell for a transfer fee.

Thursday, 13 May 2010


Hajduk Split leaped over Cibalia to finish the season as runners up following a 5-2 win over Croatia Sesvete on the last game. Rubin Kazan target Senijad Ibricic wrapped up a excellant personal season with a hatrick which takes him to 17 goals, with Duje Cop and Florin Cernat also on target. Cibalia meanwhile were defeated in a more tougher encounter with Osijek. Ivan Milicevic and Srdjan Vidakovic's strike move Osijek into a respectable 5th place.

At the lower end of the table Inter Zapresic are set to suffer relegation despite beating Lokomotiva 4-2 with a hatrick from 17 year old Mislav Orsic. In a bizarre turn of results Varteks, Zadar, Istra and even second from bottom Medmiurje all won. Varteks finished the season in a remarkable 10th place after a 3-2 win over Slaven Belupo. Istra also will look forward to a positive future under Russian ownership as they gained their third win in 5 matches in which they have been unbeaten. Istra defeated in form Rijeka 2-0 with Asim Sehic netted his 16th goal of the season.

Zadar also secured their top flight status with a 1-0 win over already safe Zagreb. Ivan Curjuric's strike proved the matchwinner. Zagreb coach Igor Stimac meanwhile announced he would be leaving the club, whilst 35 year old striker Davor Vugrinec finished the season as HNL1 highest scorer with 18 goals. It is being suggested Stimac may now move into the hotseat at Hajduk Split, despite the outstanding work done by veteran trainer Stanko Poklepovic who secured the Croatian Cup and second place despite taking the side over in a midtable position.

Zapresic's position in the league remains unstable as of yet as HNS is yet to decide how many teams will play in the Championship next season. Zapresic's appearence as one of the wealthier clubs, backed by Dinamo Zagreb, would be preferential. However it is not sure whether RNK Split will be replacing just Sesvete in another 16 tier league or whether Zapresic, Medimurje and Sesvete will all drop down.

Medimurje finished the season with a 4-0 win over Europa league qualifiers Sibenik. Dinamo Zagreb and Karlovac played out a 1-1 draw in the remaining fixture. Sibenik will be looking for a replacement for Ermin Zec, whilst newly capped Bosnian international teammate Mehmad Alispahic may also attract bids after his wonder goal against Dinamo last week. Karlovac will also look to revamp the side after Zvonko Pamic's transfer to Leverkusen, whilst Goran Bunoza also could move with Dinamo highly interested. A goalscorer will be high on Igor Pamic's shopping list after Karlovac highest scorer player managed just 5 strikes.

Champions Dinamo Zagreb meanwhile finished the season poorly. Robert Kovac, Tomislav Butina, Ante Tomic and the disappointing Karlo Primorac all look set to be released as their contracts expire in the summer. The club may consider retaining Matias Chago who performed well whilst on loan with Istra. Their has been talk of replacing coach Kruno Jurcic with equally unproven Croatia assistant coach Nikola Jurcevic, however the problems at the club appear to lie much deeper than this. Milan Badelj could be subject of a offer from the Bundesliga, whilst Dario Simic has already arrived and Jerko Leko could also sign adding more strength to the midfield. The only positive news coming out of Dinamo is that Pedro Morales has been called to Chile World Cup squad. The talented playmaker will be Dinamo's only representative at the competition should he survive coach Bielsa's cut.

HNL1 Topscorers

Saturday, 8 May 2010


Croatian Champions Dinamo Zagreb appear to be ending the season completely out of form after putting in another poor performance in a 2-1 defeat to Sibenik. Goals by Mehmed Alispahic and Antonio Jakolis see Sibenik secure 4th spot. January transfer window signing Dodo and Karlo Primorac have failed to deliver in attack whilst Sammir and Domogoj Antolic have not managed to suceded in deputising for Pedro Morales whilst the Chilean has been away on international duty.

Cibalia still look good for second place after demolishing Sesvete 5-0. Hajduk Split also made light work on Medimurje with a 4-1 win and thus sent the Cakovec based side to HNL2. Duje Cop and Goran Jozinovic was given some rare playing time and both got on the scoresheet for Hajduk. Karlovac missed the chance to secure 5th spot after being held to a 1-1 draw with Istra. Asim Sehic netted his 14th of the season.

Zagreb and Varteks seem to have all but ensured they will play top flight football. It would take a freak set of scorelines for either side to drop down. Davor Vugrinec was once again inspiration as he took his tally to 18 for the season for Zagreb as they defeated Osijek 1-0. Vugrinec has been forming a excellant partnership in attack with Goran Ljubojevic. Varteks meanwhile defeated Zadar 1-0 with Matija Smrekar scoring the only goal of the game. Smrekar looks to be Varteks saviour in more ways than one. As well as scoring the vital goal, the Croatia Under 21 international forward will also sign for French Ligue 2 side Sedan this week which will ensure Varteks recieve 150,000 in compensation which covers some of the clubs debts and could see them still gain their licence to play HNL1 football next season following an appeal.

Whilst Zagreb and Varteks can breathe easy, Zadar, Istra and Zapresic are still deep in trouble with one of the likely to suffer relegation. Zapresic must win against Lokomotiva to give them a good chance of survival. Ilija Loncarevic's side were defeated 3-1 by Rijeka at the weekend. Zadar must face NK Zagreb which could prove tricky as many Zagreb players are still playing for their futures whilst in form Vugrinec is chasing 20 goals. Istra are in the most comfortable position as they continue to show decent form and will need to lose and both Zadar and Zapresic to win in order for them to be relegated. A face off with Rijeka looks the hardest match however on paper.

In the remaining match Lokomotiva drew 1-1 with Slaven Belupo which keeps both teams comfortably in midtable. Lokomotiva will be thoroughly pleased with their position, whilst Slaven Belupo will want to push on next season following the arrival of some new players. The club remains in a strong financial position following sales of Stipe Lapic, Mato Jajalo and Bojan Vrucina for over 3m Euro's in the space of 12 months.

Sunday, 2 May 2010



In January Mario Carevic appeared to hold all the cards on his future. The player was having one of his better seasons at Lokeron with 4 goals and 9 assists. However the team have since plummetted to the bottom of the table and a transfer may seem not as easy as the player first thought. His free agent status will never the less attract clubs and Carevic expressed interest in a deal with Gent.
* UPDATE Mario Carevic signs a 3 year deal with Kortrijk

Leko who has been resounding success in Belgium has been influential in a mini revival for Lokeron during his loan from Germinal. However although Leko has a contract with GBA till 2012 he was deemed surplus to requirements and may look elsewhere. Its not sure whether a return to his beloved Hajduk is possible whilst the club has Marin Tomasov, Mario Ticinovic, Srdjan Andric and Anas Sharbini on the books. However the player will certainly have a positive influence on Hajduk.
UPDATE: Leko signs a permanent deal with Lokeron

It is likely Cesarec will be reviewing his options having produced his best season to date with Asteras Tripolis. A player available on a free with 11 goals and 8 assists to his name for the season is likely to attract numerous clubs. For Dinamo Cesarec is the ideal and more stable replacement for Mario Mandzukic who they will like to transfer abroad. However Cesarec will also be recieving offers from other parts of Europe. It is unlikely Cesarec would stay on at Asteras as at the age of 27 has a big chance to make the next step up.
UPDATE: Cesarec signs with Aris Salonika on a free transfer.

DARIO SMOJE - Free Agent
Smoje is another player lacking football, having played just minutes in the season for Pananios. Smoje's future will depend on his desire to return to the game. The player has already spent time in HNL1 with Zagreb and Dinamo and would not be afraid of a return to Croatia. However the players and any possible employer will want to assess his level of fitness.

Despite being a free agent for over 6 months, Mijatovic was playing well with his last club Lustenau and could find form back in Croatia. Slaven Belupo, Osijek and Zapresic will all be look for strikers and Mijatovic could well light up the Croatian league. The player has shown his goalscoring nouce in the higher level with LASK Linz and should be able to bring his skills to the Croatian league.
UPDATE: Mijatovic signs a 18 month contract with Vietnam's Gai Lai

Jerko Leko will finally transfer out of Monaco this summer after running down his generous contract with the French Ligue 1 side. Whilst Leko has remained inactive which has lead to him falling out the Croatia squad rumours have circulated of interest from Chelsea, Wolves, Stoke and Dinamo Moscow in signing him. As it turns out Leko appears closer to a move back to Dinamo Zagreb where he'll bring a lot of strength in the midfield if paired alongside Arjan Ademi or Adrian Calello. Leko is likely to recieve other offers, but appears to desire a move to a club challenge at the top end of the table.
UPDATE: Leko's contract due to expire imminently. Signs 2 year deal with Bucaspor.