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.

DINAMO TARGET SKOBHLAR

Dinamo Zagreb look set to continue their policy of appointing former playing legends as Josip Skobhlar emerged as their prime target to succede Velimir Zajec. However with Skobhlar now 69 years of age and with no recent experience of coaching since being sacked by Lebanon in 2000 questions may once again be asked. As a player Skobhlar was a major striking legend at Hanover and most notably at Olympic Marsielle. He also played 32 times for Yugoslavia scoring 11 goals.

As a coach his success has been far less. He won two Yugoslav Cups with Hajduk, but exempting short spells with Hamburg and Real Vallodolid there is nothing noteworthy on his CV. As a head figure such as the position occupied by Zoran Mamic, Skobhlar may prove useful, but as coach this can only be a short term solution. As for playing staff, goalgetter Pedro Morales looks certain to return to the team at the weekend as his omission greatly displeased chief executive Zdravko Mamic. Andrej Kramaric could also reappear.

A new coach will also have to make decision on the future of Mathias Chago and Dodo. Chago has been one of the most impressive players at Dinamo since the players returned to preseason training. However Istra Pula want him back on loan and he is no longer guarenteed a starting place since Arjan Ademi returned from Croatia Under 19 duty. Dodo meanwhile has been one of the guilty party responsible for Dinamo's lack of goals and could also go to Istra or more likely to Inter Zapresic who have not replaced him since he left the club.

Dinamo fans would be happy to see the back of Dodo, however parting with Chago could prove a mistake. Although Ademi and Adrian Callelo are ahead of him, Ante Tomic has rarely played for Dinamo in three seasons and may not prove suitable cover. Loaning Tomic may be a more sensible decision.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

TALENTED CROAT FIGHTS TO RESTORE HEALTH


Although many Croats may not have heard the fight for health of Branimir Poljac has been big news in Turkey and Norway. The 26 year old Norwegian of Croatian parentage, had been making a good impression with Konjaspor who he helped guide to promotion last season. However April 2010 he was involved in one person car accident in which the car he was driving flipped on its roof. Poljac suffered seriously injuries and for a time was completely paralysed.

Unlike many smaller name Croats that go abroad, Poljac was making waves at his club as a goalscoring midfielder and before his injuries had 11 goals in 40 matches. A strong 2010/11 season may even have caught the eye of Croatian national team coach Slaven Bilic or alternatively his Norwegian counterpart. For now though Poljac considers himself lucky to still be alive and with the help of medical staff is slowly trying to restore movement in his body. He is able to move his shoulders and is beginning to regain feeling in his arms.

Football is littered with inspirational figures who have come back from the brink and for Poljac this will mean just to return to health. Ivan Klasnic of Bolton Wanderers overcame two kidney transplants, whilst Uruguay international Dario Silva - a once feisty striker of Malaga and Celta, overcame leg ambutation and is a much admired character.

For Croatia several players have been lost their lives to car accidents with Silvestar Sabolcki and Milenko Kovacic the most high profile. Daniel Popovic was also Ivica Olic's strike partner in the Croatia Under 21 team, whilst Varteks goalkeepers Krunoslav Kittner and Krunoslav Sabolic were also lost in the Sabolcki crash.

STRIKERS IN SHORT SUPPLY

HNL1 sides looking to improve their sides could find themselves picking at the bones as transfer deadline approaches. Dario Zahora and Tomislav Sokota were prize targets having enjoy fairly successful spells in Slovenia and Belgium respectively. However both appear to be on the brink of acquiring surprise foriegn contracts.

Four clubs are desperately short of strikers. NK Zagreb, Istra Pula, Inter Zapresic and Sibenik. Zagreb may find it healthy to acquire early whilst they are in a good situation. Karlo Primorac, at 26 could be worth chancing on. The players wages would fit in Zagreb's financial structure. Primorac is looking to rebuild his career after six lean months with Dinamo Zagreb.

Istra Pula and Inter Zapresic may have to hope that Dinamo Zagreb make Dodo and Ilija Sivonjic available, who have failed in front of goal at the Croatian Champions. Stepping down to Istra or Zapresic could be what they need however. Istra are targeting Matias Chago, but they may have more chance landing Ante Tomic. Rijeka are also looking for a creative spark in the middle and Ivan Bosnjak could be an impact acquisition. Although Nikola Safaric may also do a job on smaller wages. Bosnjak may also be a target for Cibalia, but once again Srebrenko Posavec is cheaper so could be more suitable.

Defensive midfielders Gordan Golik and Marko Maric are also on the market. With the lack of strikers available Istra should be careful not to lose Asim Sehic, whilst Radomir Dalovic two goal heroics for Montenegro against Northern Ireland would suggest the Rijeka man can play at a higher level. Dalovic is a realistic target for Hearts and is also wanted by Wigan Athletic.

ZAHORA ARRIVES IN ISRAEL

Former Dinamo Zagreb striker Dario Zahora has arrived in Israel to join up with Bnei Sakhnin. The 28 year old ex Croatia Under 21 player has been a free agent since terminated his contract with Norwegian side Rosenborg.

Zahora has a impressive goalscoring history in Croatia and Slovenia, however he arrives in Israel in the midst of a dispute between coach Yuval Naim and President Hassan Abu Saleh about his signing. Naim claims not to have the approved the signing, but has since been removed from his position for numerous reasons.

Zahora's hunt for a new club had been long running with HNK Rijeka, Istra Pula and Debrecen all closely linked with him. Zahora's switch to Israel however could prove his best decision which could earn him a move to a stronger club in the league in future. Meanwhile, Jurica Vranjes says he may sit at Werder Bremen if a deal with Hajduk Split is not agreed. Mario Galinovic is on the verge of joining Tomislav Sokota at OA Kavala.

SOKOTA TO RECIEVE LAST CHANCE

Former Croatia international Tomislav Sokota looks set to gain one last foriegn contract with Greek club AO Kavala. Sokota, now 33 looked to be heading into retirement or back in the Croatian league after being released by Belgian side Lokeron. However the striker has won one last deal abroad in the Greek Superliga where his friend and former Dinamo Zagreb strike partner Bosko Balaban plays with Pananios.

Sokota has had an interesting career with moments of both joy and sadness. At Dinamo he made a major impression scoring 49 goals in 92 games and becoming HNL1 leading scorer in both the 1999/ 00 and 2000/01 seasons. He also recorded memorable goals against Sturm Graz in the Champions League and Parma in the UEFA Cup. Such success led to a much deserved transfer to Benfica. Sokota's first two seasons however were destroyed by injury after he broke his foot. This caused him to miss the World Cup in 2002, but he returned the season after to net 14 goals as Benfica claimed Championship glory. Even then life was not easy as Sokota was first on scene when the late Miklos Feher suffered a fatal heart attack. Sokota, who was once vilified for unveiling a anti Hajduk T Shirt, was praised by doctor's for his attempts at saving Feher's life. Sokota certainly had matured during his career very rapidly.

Sokota's performances at Benfica were good enough to win favour with Croatia coach Otto Baric in time for Croatia's Euro 2004 decisive play off qualifier with Slovenia. Sokota played in Dado Prso to score the winning goal and Baric took Sokota to the Championships after strikes against Denmark and Turkey. Sokota's finals however were typical of his career. He participated in one disappointing draw with 10 man Switzerland, one great game with France and a final group game loss versus England. That was the end of Sokota's breif international career.

On his return to Benfica, Sokota was injured again and left for rivals Porto. Sokota's was so prone to injury there that he played just 3 matches in two seasons. Sokota spent the next two seasons at Dinamo, but was again prone to fitness troubles, playing just 27 matches and scoring 8 goals. Once a Dinamo fans favorite Sokota was then shown the door in January 2009 as the club felt they were not gaining value for money. Sokota pitched up for a season at Lokeron and left with reasonable figures of 7 goals for season spent on and off the bench. It wasn't sure whether it was enough to attract the interest of another foriegn club, but Greek side OA Kavala will the player another chance.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

DINAMO HIT PANIC BUTTON

Dinamo Zagreb have fired coach Velimir Zajec after just 3 HNL1 games. The reasons for the sacking centre mainly on the teams failures in front of goal. Cheif Executive Zdravko Mamic was particularly vocal on the omission of Pedro Morales which has baffled many Dinamo fans. In a bizarre twist defender Dario Simic also decided to end his playing career only a day later. Having spent time in such surroundings as Inter Milan, AC Milan and Monaco it would appear sitting on the bench in Zagreb was not to Simic's liking who at 34 regarded himself past his best. With Dinamo hunting for a coach Igor Pamic announced his commitment to Karlovac, whilst Branko Karacic appears to be putting himself forward. Rumours also suggest Dinamo could return to the steadying hand of Krunoslav Jurcic who had most of the players last season.

Meanwhile Sibenik have got themselves a new coach with Vjekoslav Lokic taking over. Defender Ante Aracic has also been recruited from Hajduk Split. Elsewhere striker Marijan Vuka is the latest player to train with Osijek, whilst searching for a new club. Osijek also accepted requests from Karlo Primorac and Marin Skender to train with them. Both players arguably made mistakes in parting the Gradski Vrt to pursue better contracts.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

HAJDUK BACK TO WORKING ORDER

Hajduk Split completed a good week by seeing off Sibenik on Saturday. Stanko Poklepovic has altered the team in recent weeks and it seems to be working wonders. Mirko Oremus has taken up a new role at right back, allowing the creative Marin Tomasov to come on to the right wing where he can rotate with left winger Anas Sharbini in a highly attack and mobile forward three behind lone striker Ante Vukusic. Senijad Ibricic is doing a excellant job as roaming playmaker both building play and scoring goals. Vukusic meanwhile has been full of running and has a understanding with Ibricic having been fielded together last season.

Amazingly Hajduk have a very sensible sized squad in comparison to last season, with youngsters Ante Rezic, Dinko Trebotic, Franko Andriasejvic and Goran Jozinovic having access to the team from the bench. In fact it seems Hajduk will shelve in plans to sign Jurica Vranjes due to the success of Mario Brkljaca in central midfield. They also hope to give opportunities to Marin Ljubicic when he returns from injury and there may also be chance for Kreso Ljubicic to be fielded from the bench, now that Mario Ticinovic has been loaned to Karlovac.

DINAMO WASTING MORALES

Dinamo Zagreb once again recorded an unimpressive performance, this time again NK Varazdin as their poor start to the season continues.

Goalscoring appears to be at the heart of their problems where Dodo, Miroslav Slepicka and Ilija Sivonjic are the main culprits. Ante Rukavina looks like he will help Dinamo to find the net, however Pedro Morales and Andrej Kramaric are being wasted and have not appeared even from the bench in the last two matches.

25 year old Chilean international Morales has a goalscoring record of one in two for Dinamo and netted his first of the season against Dragovoljac. Despite a average performance against Rijeka, Velimir Zajec's decision to drop the player has been costly.

Sivonjic, Slepicka and particularly Dodo's goalscoring problems at Dinamo have been long running stretching as far back as the last spring. Sivonjic and Dodo have not scored in 7 matches and would appear not to fit at an elite Croatian club. Inter Zapresic have suffered through the departure of the players and it would seem suitable for all parties that they returned.

Dinamo have European aspirations, but currently they are lacking forwards who know there way around HNL1 level. At the start of the season forwards such as Ivan Kristanovic for Zagreb, Rado Dalovic and Hjorve Strok for Rijeka, Nino Bule for Lokomotiva and Slaven Belupo's Aljosa Vojinovic are essential to domestic success. With Rukavina and Morales, Dinamo can return to form. However Zajec would be wise to give up on the failing trio. As funds are tight at Dinamo, Zdravko Mamic would be wise to loan out Dodo and Sivonjic and bring back an experienced campaigner like Ivan Bosnjak to add goals to the attack. Bosnjak, although 31 knows his way around the division and would not be an expensive gamble. Rukavina, Morales, Slepicka and Kramaric would more often than not be preferred, but Dinamo currently need goals in numbers.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

HNL1 ROUND 3

Slaven Belupo and Rijeka occupy the top two positions in the league after victories over Zadar and Dragovoljac kept up their 100% records. Both teams look well equipped to have strong seasons, especially Belupo who have dispatched their victories with ease thus far. Belupo were 2-0 winners with goals from the talented Mateas Delic and playmaker Aljosa Vojinovic. Hjorve Strok bagged a double for Rijeka, with key striker Radomir Dalovic netting the other in the win over struggling Dragovoljac.

Ante Rukavina scored his first goal for Dinamo Zagreb, but he lasted only a half as the Croatian Champions were held to a 1-1 draw with Varazdin. Velimir Zajec dropped Igor Biscan and Etto to the bench and brought in Tomislav Barbaric and Ilija Sivonjic. Sivonjic, Slepicka and Dodo were again off target whilst Pedro Morales continues to sit out matches. Dinamo's powderpuff striking trio is becoming a running joke in Croatia and Velimir Zajec will need to act soon before his job becomes at risk. For the Varazdin a point was much deserved, with debutant Davor Vugrinec even threatening to bury Dinamo on several occasions.

There was no such for Karlovac who saw off tricky opponents in RNK Split 1-0. Lokomotiva won their second straight match at home to Istra 1961. Domagoj Antolic marked his return to the club with the only goal of the game. Istra meanwhile, who replaced Ante Mise with Robert Jarni as coach will return to Pula to revamp their squad.

Osijek are still without a win after drawing 0-0 at NK Zagreb. Osijek's Vedran Niksic and Josip Barisic have struggled to find the net in the early part of the season, so coach Tomislav Steinbuckner may soon turn to Croatia Under 19 player Anton Maglica.

Inter Zapresic, along with Istra and Dragovoljac already look strong candidates for relegation. Zapresic were defeated 1-0 by Cibalia, despite Stanko Mrsic's side having goalscorer Kresimir Prgomet red carded. Zapresic have lost several key players who have not benefitted from parting the club. Ilija Sivonjic, Dodo, Mario Grgurovic and Miroslav Saric all arguably belong at this level and their parting has not benefitted player nor club. Zapresic's new signings have all flattered to decieve so far and could be set to buy Dinamo's feeder club a ticket to HNL2. Zdravko Mamic's business dealings between Dinamo and Zapresic is arguably at the centre of both teams current goalscoring problems.

Sibenik also need to be wary of joining to teams adrift at the bottom. Sibenik appear to have serious scoring issues since the departure of Ermin Zec. Sibenik may look for recuitments to solve their troubles. They play Hajduk Split on Sunday.

FINISHED?

After months out of the game it would seem that former Croatian Under 21 internationals Hjorve Vukovic and Dario Smoje are both finished with football.

Vukovic was a regular performer at Alemania Aachen two seasons ago, but after the end of his contract he chose not to return to the game. The 30 year old former Hajduk Split man in fact has chosen to take up a career in Djing. Smoje, once of Dinamo Zagreb and AA Gent also looks to be bowing out of the game. Smoje is often seen on the fashion circuit with his wife Kristina and also attended the wedding of his friend Bosko Balaban. Smoje has rarely played any football now for two seasons. He last played for Pananios but terminated his contract in January.

Similarly, it would appear Antonio Franja, formerly of Vitoria Setubal and NK Zagreb has ended his playing career. Currently Ivan Bosnjak, Tomislav Sokota, Goran Sablic and Dino Drpic are all redundant, but there plans are not yet known.

Friday, 6 August 2010

BUDAN NEXT TO GO

Palermo striker Igor Budan looks set to be the next Croatian player to join a new club after transfer negotiations started with newly promoted Serie A side Cesana. Although Edison Cavani has moved across to Napoli, Palermo signed Massimo Maccarone and are chasing a Cesana player and hope exchanging Budan can sweeten the deal.

Stipe Pletikosa should also complete his on off deal with Tottenham Hotspur shortly. However Nikica Jelavic will not be joining Glasgow Rangers after their top bid of 3.5m pounds was rejected by Rapid Vienna. Jelavic is in hot form and his Austrian club believe he is worth 5m Euro's on the current market. Rangers interest may alert other British clubs to his capabilities, so Jelavic could still yet transfer before the deadline.

ETTO SET TO COMPENSATE FOR FAILING STRIKERS

Dinamo Zagreb coach Velimir Zajec looks set to turn to Brazilian Etto in a attacking role after becoming disenchanted with the performance of strikers Miroslav Slepicka and Dodo. Dodo is yet to score this season, whilst Czech international Slepicka failed to threaten in the Champions League qualifier with Sherriff.

Ante Rukavina will lead the Dinamo attack down the middle in the coming weeks. However Etto may now be entrusted on the right side of a forward three having impressed in midweek. Etto normally plays at right back, but the role has now been entrusted to Croatian Under 21 international Sime Vrsaljko. Etto has long been a reliable player for Dinamo, but goalscoring is not a strong point. Etto will be expected to make assists and breach the backline having built up an understanding with Sammir and Milan Badelj. Luis Ibanez is expected to stay at left back and Milan Badelj will continue in his deep lying midfield role. However Pedro Morales needs to step up to his best form as is Dinamo's best hope of goals in support of Rukavina. Slepicka may drop to the bench with Ilija Sivonjic and Andrej Kramaric.

If Dinamo's new formation succedes, Dinamo are unlikely to recruit Montenegro international Fatos Beciraj. Brazilian Dodo still may go on loan in the next few weeks. It is thought Dinamo have retained him due to a short term injury to Kramaric, whilst Sivonjic also has been hampered by injury. Dodo could be offered to Lokomotiva, Istra, Inter Zapresic or Sibenik.

LIGA 12 CRANKS UP THE PRESSURE

With transfer deadline just weeks away, HNL1 clubs will be all too aware of the need to snap up new recruitments to prepare themselves for the fight for survival this season. Due to HNS change in the formation of the league four teams will go down this season, with one also entering a relegation play off. Thus far Hrvatski Dragovoljac, Inter Zapresic and Istra Pula have started badly and look slightly short of quality.

For the rest their is set to be a mighty scramble. Despite two wins in two Rijeka are still be looking for the central midfielder to make a difference for them. Rijeka are satisfied with their strikeforce of Radomir Dalovic and Ivan Rodic. In addition Nevan Vukman and Damir Krielach are protecting the backline well. However Ramon Fernandes remains a big loss and the name of Nikola Safaric has been increasingly mentioned amongst the supporters as replacement. The 29 year old is still a free agent after leaving Slaven Belupo and has a history as a very reliable HNL1 player. Varazdin also want the player but might be financially out of reach.

Cibalia also require a attack minded midfielder and it would appear the perfect time for Ivan Bosnjak to make a return. The 31 year old may however need convincing to take lower wages having had a strong career taking in good spells at both Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split, as well as Racing Genk. Bosnjak is from the area and came through the ranks at Cibalia scoring 21 goals in 62 games. His arrival would be a major boost for the club, but it would depend on the players hunger to get back on the pitch. A cheaper option for Cibalia may be former Slaven Belupo playmaker Srebrenko Posavec.

Karlo Primorac may regret parting with financially rejuvenated Osijek. Primorac is now in limbo after a disappointing spell at Dinamo Zagreb. Primorac spurned deals with Slaven Belupo and Rijeka and its thought those options are no longer open. Osijek may go back in for Primorac, but only if the talented Ivan Milicevic was to be snapped up by a bigger club.

It is still not known which club Dario Zahora will suit up with. A return to Slovenia where he impressed with Interblock, Domzale and Koper could be possible. However Zahora went on trial with Debrecen recently and it appears he still sees himself in a stronger European club. Having been released by Rosenborg, a deal abroad for Zahora appears dependent on successful tests.

Sibenik could add Ante Aracic and Marko Kartelo to their roster soon. However the teams current issues are in the striking department. Goalgetters are few are far between in HNL1 just now. Istra's Asim Sehic or Cibalia's Zjelko Marcic could be a possibility. However a deal would need to be done before the deadline. Otherwise former player Mario Juric has been mentioned or Sibenik's new ties with Dinamo may see the arrival of Dodo or Ilija Sivonjic who could be cut from the squad of the Croatian Champions following their Champions League exit.

HAJDUK PUT ON EURO SHOW

Hajduk Split reached the last qualifying round for the Europa Liga group stage after a 3-0 second leg victory over Dinamo Bucarest. Hajduk were 3-1 down from the first meeting, but goals from Ante Vukusic, Mario Brkljaca and Marin Tomasov turn the match for the Croatian Runners Up.

After impressing in the last two games Mario Brkljaca who now looks set to stay. Brkljaca started the season as one of three defensive midfielders. However both Kreso and Marin Ljubicic picked up injuries to give the former Zagreb man his opportunity. Brkljaca also has an offer on the table from Russian Europa Liga representatives Sibir. However it now appears Brkljaca is a important part of Stanko Poklepovic's plans and will stay in the team for the forseeable future.

It remains to be seen if Hajduk will therefore pursue the signing of Jurica Vranjes as this may throw doubt on Brkljaca's place once again. Vranjes could perform duties in Hajduk's problem position at right back. However Mirko Oremus also proved himself a capable right back should Poklepovic restore in form Marin Tomasov to the right wing.

It would appear that Ante Vukusic will play the striker position in future, with Duje Cop and more significantly Ahmad Sharbini stuck on the bench. There is also no guarenteed place for Mario Ticinovic, who could be farmed out on loan to Karlovac. Hajduk could wait to sell Senijad Ibricic now in the winter.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

SAMMIR IMPROVES, BUT DINAMO STILL SHORT

Dinamo Zagreb dropped out the Champions League on Wednesday night after losing on penalties to FC Sherriff of Moldova. Despite the largely small sized opposition, Dinamo had FC Sherriff where they wanted them, but Miroslav Slepicka, Milan Badelj and Etto were not able to take there chances, whilst Sammir forced the keeper into two fine saves.

On this performance Dinamo still do not look ready to step into the high level competition of the Champions League. Although link play between Badelj, Etto and Sammir was impressive at times, Dinamo had no finish to their moves. Miroslav Slepicka lacked pace to lead the attack on his own and was too quick to pass up good opportunities to teammates. The Czech striker did not even step up during a long running penalty shoot out. Dodo also has not proved himself yet even at HNL1 level and may be farmed out on loan in the next week. Ante Rukavina, made his debut but does not look match fit or to have adjusted to his new surroundings yet so needs more time. Last night showed Dinamo however will not get by purely on Rukavina and will need another striker.

Inter Zapresic are waiting for players such as Dodo and Ilija Sivonjic to be sent over. Lokomotiva were keener to loan Dinamo's young players like Domagoj Antolic, but appear satisfied now with their forward line of Nino Bule, Tomislav Hajovic and Ivan Peko. Zapresic meanwhile are short in attack and would be keen to see their former players Dodo and Sivonjic return. Arguably Dinamo only recruited Sivonjic and Dodo to put resources into Zapresic who largely act as a feeder club to the Croatian Champions.

Dinamo can take heart from the performance of some of there players. Sime Vrsaljko missed one of the penalties, but looks a prospect as an attacking right back in the mould of Dario Srna, Marijan Buljat and Silvestar Sabolcki. Etto and Luis Ibanez also showed signs that they may be more useful to Dinamo in attack minded roles and applied themselves well last night. Similarly Sammir is playing his best football as the teams playmaker and Chago and Adrian Callelo appear to have fixed last season's issues in defensive midfield and are pressuring the ball well.

Worryingly however Milan Badelj has dropped off in form, although did show flashes of quality last night. Pedro Morales also did not feature when he has in the past proved to be the one player capable of brilliant finishing when Dinamo needed it. It seems apparent that Dinamo to enroll Morales in place of Slepicka if they are to improve their goalscoring threat.

In defence Leandro Cufre looks important. However Igor Biscan remains leggy and left back is also still an issue at this level. The rest i.e Tomislav Barbaric, Dario Simic and Leonard Mesaric are seen as cover. Despite this, the reasons for defeat were not in the defence last night. Although Dinamo lost the match may give confidence to Filip Loncaric.

How Zdravko Mamic may respond to this is likely to be through changing the strikers. Ante Rukavina will naturally stay and Slepicka will be kept for HNL1 matches and as a impact substitute. However Dodo and Sivonjic, who have affordably wages are likely to be leaving on loan. Dinamo has still not seen enough of Andrej Kramaric and he should stay on. A new number 9 is certain to arrive, most likely in the shape of Fatos Beciraj of Buducnost Podgorica.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

HUNT FOR CLUBS BEGINS 2

DARIO SRNA

Although Dario Srna's current contract expires in 2011, there still appears no real sign of him being anywhere else than Shaktar Donetsk next season whilst the side continues to hold the calibre of players of himself, Fernandinho, Jadson, Luiz Adriano and others. As a unit Shaktar are still a force and offer another season to Srna in the Champions League. This time Shaktar got what they want which is a league Championship and thus directly enter Europes Premier competition. Once again Srna cannot hope to transfer unless interested parties even of the standing of Fiorentina, AC Milan, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid match his wages.
UPDATE: Srna remains a transfer target for Bayern Munich and Chelsea

DARIO KNEZEVIC
Croatian international defender Dario Knezevic has had personally decent season despite Livorno's relegation. It is not impossible for Knezevic to get the call for his country whilst playing in Serie B, especially following Ivica Krizanac's retirement from international football and if Livorno were to be at the top three in the division. However it is likely Knezevic has done enough to transfer abroad. There was rumours of a switch to Shaktar Donetsk in the winter, whilst recently a switch to a giant side in Turkey was reported which could elevate Knezevic's career. Its also likely clubs in Germany may be interested.
UPDATE: Knezevic deciding between Bari, Brescia, Olympiakos and Roma. Starts the season with Livorno in Serie B.

STIPE PLETIKOSA (SPARTAK TO TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR)
For a long time now it appears that Pletikosa had all but agreed a transfer to Tottenham Hotspur as back up to Auerlio Gomes. Croatia has long been used to Pletikosa struggling to command a place at club level so this would not be a major issue, especially with consideration to Gomes habit of suffering nasty knocks. There appears no future for Pletikosa at Spartak Moscow whilst a move anywhere would be a surprise.

IGOR BUDAN (PALERMO TO CESANA)
Although Palermo would appear certain of a top 5 finish this season, Croatian striker Igor Budan may look to switch clubs this summer to increase his chances of a regular play. Arguably Palermo's use of Budan this season has been intelligent. The players knee problems have not been tested due to Budan been confined mainly to the substitutes bench. When Budan has been used he has scored 7 times which is a fairly decent return.

The club appears however to have become to big for Budan with Abel Hernandez coming through strongly during the season and Miccoli on excellant form. Palermo may decide to move Budan out and bring in a younger player to push the side on. Budan may look to stay in Italy, dropping down to one of the smaller sides where he may play more regularly. Bari were interested in the summer and may rekindle their interest.
UPDATE: Budan overcomes injury concerns to sign with Cesana.

MARKO BABIC
The future of left midfielder Marko Babic at Real Zaragoza seems uncertain despite the player still having a year left on his contract with the Spanish club. Babic failed to establish himself in the first team who were in the peril of relegation for much of the season. Having only struggled to gain starts with Real Betis and Hertha Berlin, Babic may feel its time to drop down a level if he is playing more football. His inactivity has seen him completely lose his status as an international for his country in spite of being Croatia's best performer in the 2006 World Cup. Babic can still experience a revival as is still only 29, but needs to find the right club.

DARKO BODUL - Ajax

Darko Bodul is a player with a lot to prove after a disappointing season with Sparta Rotterdam. The Ajax youngster appears to have no future at the Dutch giants but is also failing to impress in a lower level which has seen him fall out of the Croatian Under 21 set. Bodul who is still only 21 will need to do better during his next loan spell. Bodul, however is another player who can take heart from the Nikica Jelavic and Ivan Perisic who appeared to be going nowhere in there careers, but suddenly found form in the right environment. A switch in fact to the Austrian or Belgian league could benefit Bodul, whilst Dinamo or Hajduk may also be interested to take a chance on the player.

DINO DRPIC - Free Agent
Former Croatia international Dino Drpic will leave Karlsruhre after a extremely uneventful season for the midtable Bundesliga 2 side. Drpic will start the search for a new club. The 28 year old may have been considered an ideal and cheap replacement for Robert Kovac at Dinamo, if not for his off the field antics during his previous stint in Zagreb. It is likely Drpic will find a new employer due to his free agent status and will hope to be back amongst a top flight club.
UPDATE: Drpic offered to Sporting Lisbon

IBRICIC TRANSFER COULD SPARK LATE DASH

The result of Hajduk Split's Europa Liga second leg clash with Dinamo Bucarest could be the catalyst for late activity in the Croatian transfer market. Hajduk are currently 3-1 down from the first leg and needing a mighty performance to progress to the next round.

Hajduk board officials have suggested that should Hajduk drop out they would need to transfer Senijad Ibricic and maybe Ivan Strinic to fund themselves for the rest of the season. It is thought Hajduk only have serious offers on the table for the Bosnian and Croatian international duo. Hajduk may accept 4m Euro's for Ibricic, whilst Strinic would command a 2m Euro transfer. Although the fees offered may be lower than Hajduk hoped they may reluctantly be forced to accept.

Whilst Hajduk have written off the contracts of numerous players such as Ante Seric, Ivo Smoje, Ivan Rodic and Dario Jertec. They have not brought in any significant fees from the sales of Boris Pandza, Vjekoslav Tomic, Florin Cernat and Ante Aracic. All went on frees or for under 100,000 Euro's. The sale of Ibricic would however would solve any financial problems and debts to players.

Ibricic was a target of Rubin Kazan and Fenerbahce and either could still table an offer. Should Wolfsburg's Zjezdjan Misimovic depart this could also spark Ibricic's move to the Bundesliga. Lazio's Edy Reja is also an admirer and has money to spend. Ibricic is also thought to be interesting Blackburn who may table a bid once a takeover of the club goes through. Strinic meanwhile is a strong target of Koln who can afford 2m Euro and in the Russian Premier League.

Strinic would be replaced by Goran Jozinovic. However Ibricic's sale would leave a huge whole in Hajduk's team as their most talented player. Ibricic has long been due a step up to a stronger club. Hajduk have a largely pro Croatian policy when signing players, but there a few players left in the market who Hajduk can turn to to find a replacement for Ibricic. Hajduk could look within their current staff, but neither Anas Sharbini, Marin Tomasov, Mirko Oremus or Mario Ticinovic are to the standard of Ibricic. They are however good enough to fill Ibricic's creative role. Ibricic's loss will be in the goalscoring department.

Talented Croatian forwards in HNL1 are few and far between at present. However Zagreb's targetman Ivan Kristanovic has been a former target of the club and a new bid could be lodged. Zagreb are not currently in a position to decline as a short of finance. Kristanovic would command a fee roughly in the region of 500,000 Euro's. Hajduk would also require at least one other striker of forward minded playmaker. Osijek's Ivan Milicevic is certain to one of the stars of the season and is currently fairly priced. Sibenik may also be prepared to part with the latest Bosnian HNL1 star Mehmed Alispahic for 1m Euro's.

Abroad its likely Igor Budan will leave Palermo before Hajduk sell Ibricic so that's a no go. Zdravko Popovic and Darko Bodul are the only lower profile strikers available, but may not prove attractive for Hajduk. A loan deal with Croatian Under 19 star Filip Ozobic could prove realistic. Ozobic plays regular for Croatia's Under 19 and Under 21 side, but is only in the reserves at Spartak Moscow and would jump at the chance to sign on loan for Hajduk.

With any transfer money recieved Hajduk are likely to only look for a forward and a full back. Hajduk are over capacitated in central defence with Matej Jonjic, Mario Maloca, Jurica Buljat and Hjorve Vejic. Similarly in central midfield Jurica Vranjes, Srdjan Andric, Marin Ljubicic, Franko Andriasejvic and Mario Brkljaca is considered enough. Hajduk are however very light at full back. Ante Rezic is currently being tried out there, but Hajduk have already conceded 6 goals in just 3 games. Marijan Buljat suffered a broken leg in midweek leaving Hajduk desperately short. A centre back such as Vejic or defensive midfielder could be moved across. However Hajduk could also do battle with Dinamo for Elvis Kokalovic of Slaven Belupo.

The Ibricic money could therefore stay in HNL1 and would spark further arrivals for Osijek, Slaven Belupo and Sibenik should either Milicevic, Kokalovic or Alispahic leave. The transfer however would ensure all three teams live in financial comfort for the next two seasons. Milicevic's transfer could prove an opening for Anton Maglica or for Karlo Primorac to return. Sibenik could improve all areas of their squad and Belupo already have a powerful squad and could replace from within.

Zagreb would definitely listen to an offer for Kristanovic, but would need to be quick to sign new players as Kristanovic is their only experienced forward. However whilst Dario Zahora, Tomo Sokota, Asim Sehic and Ivan Bosnjak remain on the market Zagreb will not be panicing.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

VRUCINA GOES TO GREECE

Another Croatian striker is no longer on the market, as Bojan Vrucina was sent on loan to promoted Greek Superliga club Panaserrekos from Hapoel Tel Aviv. The transfer marks an excellant opporunity for the 26 year old to impress in a stronger league.

Vrucina's chances were limited in Hapoel Tel Aviv with the player making only 10 appearences since signing in January scoring 1 goal. He was a realistic recruit for Hajduk Split and Dinamo Zagreb who both require frontmen, but the Croatian elite will have to look elsewhere.

Dinamo desire Montenegrin Fatos Beciraj whilst Hajduk are awaiting Senijad Ibricic's transfer before being able to make any moves in the market. Any deal is unlikely to go through in time to be able to afford a swoop for Igor Budan who could leave Palermo as soon as next week for a host of Serie A options. Hajduk could yet turn to the Prva Liga where Zagreb's Ivan Kristanovic, Sibenik's Mehmad Alispahic and Osijek's Ivan Milicevic are impressing on a regular basis.