Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Rijeka have released Mexican trio Luis Delgadillo, Herbert Alferez and Carlos Gutierrez as they try to rebuild their team for the second half of the campaign. The moves allows them to pick up a new forward and creative midfield player. On their radar may be former player Antun Dunkovic who has impressed in the Belgian league with Mechelen and is now a free agent. Chonquin Lifan may also part with forwards Ivan Bosnjak and Zelimir Terkes should Rijeka send offers to the players. Both players are former leading scorers in HNL1 and would provide a more experienced front line. Deals for Hajduk Split forward Ahmad Sharbini and Krunoslav Lovrek would also give the side greater potency.

Meanwhile Dinamo Zagreb have allowed fans favorite and ex Argentine international Leandro Cufre to join Mexican club Atlas. Cufre, 33 played two season with Dinamo and will be remembered for his role in the teams historic 2-0 Europa Liga victory over Villareal. Cufre was also said to be influential in the development of Luis Ibanez who has been playing at left back, but more successfully at left wing. However Dinamo may be on a look out for a new defensive minded player with Slovan Liberec's Renato Kelic, Livorno's Dario Knezevic and Wolfsburg's Hjorve Cale all fitting targets for their ambitions.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


With Dinamo Zagreb out in front in the league it seems a case of a another routine Championship waltz for the team from the Croatian Capital. Hajduk Split appear a unhappy runners up with city neighbours RNK Split an annoying accompaniment in third place as things stand. Dinamo's main issue is Europe as they seem incapable of competing currently when they step outside of Croatia. What they can change in the winter transfer window is hard to see. The team they have now is more than equipped to bring them the Croatian title. Internationals such Jerko Leko, Milan Badelj, Nikola Pokrivac, Domagoj Vida and Ante Rukavina will use the rest of the season to push for a national team place. At present its hard to see any player moving to a bigger league from there Champions League exploits apart from Sime Vrsaljko and Fatos Beciraj. Both players could attract interest. Sammir, Ivan Tomecak, Ivan Krstanovic, Luis Ibanez Mario Situm and Arjan Ademi will also look to increase their reputations. However three players who may be on the exit door are Adrian Callelo who is a excess midfielder. Pedro Morales is talented but underused. Jakub Sylvestr meanwhile just has not made any impression and looks a bad recruit who needs offering back to clubs in the Czech Republic or to his native Slovakia. One player who Dinamo would want to keep is Mateo Kovacic who Dinamo fans would like to see blossom in the same way as Luka Modric did before going on to bigger things. Sammir, Badelj, Tomecak and Leko will now need to play support to him and allow the youngster to come through.

Two players who would interest the rest of the Croatian league are striker Andrej Kramaric and midfielder Matias Chago. Neither player has a place in Dinamo Zagreb as things stand. Chago would gain interest from Istra Pula where he excelled whilst Kramaric is a obvious candidate to take over from Nino Bule at Lokomotiva Zagreb for the next two seasons. Kramaric and Antun Palic may also intrigue NK Zagreb who are gaining little from there current forward line or midfield department. It is surprising Zagreb dont also apply effort to chase their former player Nino Bule to find the way to goal knowing Dinamo normally like to send their youngers down to Lokomotiva.

RNK Split are not likely to change much with everything working out just nicely. They would like to make a sale to balance the books, but whilst Josip Seradusic is injured, Ivica Krizanac remains their big name star. Neighbours Hajduk are currently assessing a squad filled with signings that have not worked out. Nikola Saric, Ivan Vukovic, Steven Lustica, Ljubo Milicevic and Josip Barisic have all flopped since arriving at the club. They also continue to get little out of Ahmad Sharbini and Mario Ticinovic. Anas has been slightly better, Drago Gabric is a excellant signing whilst Marin Tomasov has been the sides best player and could finally be ready to transfer to progress his career. Ante Vukusic hasn't kicked on from last season, but does provide some hope along with Ivan Lendric. New signings will be hard whilst Hajduk have so many failing players on there books. A experienced striker is neccessary especially if Tomasov moves. However Dinamo have some of the players Hajduk might have looked at such as Mehmad Alispahic and Ivan Krstanovic both of whom are strong HNL1 players but not key in Zagreb as of this moment. As Hajduk will be reluctant to send offers to Zagreb, they may fight for Zadar's Ivan Santini who may go abroad or Slaven Belupo's Leon Benko both of which would do damage to the selling clubs. Mate Bilic is no longer available having revived his Sporting Gijon career, same goes for Ergotelis's Mario Budimir and Teplice's Andrej Keric. Hajduk fans may wince at any more gambles made by the clubs management. If Tomasov goes one player who may not be a gamble is Lokeron's Ivan Leko who has over 200 appearences, medals and near 40 goals and over 50 assists from his time in the Belgian league. Verona's Sasa Bjelanovic would also bring a lot to the Hajduk forward line, not achieved by youngsters who are failing to make their mark.

Osijek and Slaven Belupo have both finally seen their investments pay off and are having decent season. Belupo's Kokalovic, Glavica, Busic, Milardovic, Mujanovic are just doing so much better this time out and have the squad to challenge for third place. Benko is the star of the team however and Belupo would need to keep him at the club. Failed spells at Nuremburg, Standard Liege and Kortrijk may make clubs wary however. Hajduk however may take a look at him. Osijek's president Robert Spehar brought in experienced men such as Goran Ljubojevic, Marko Babic, Ivo Smoje and these deals are now starting to work. However the club would like another sale with Tomislav Sorsa, Ivan Milicevic and Dino Gavric there prize assets. Osijek would also be expecting more from Dario Zahora having took a chance on the floating hitman earlier in the season.

Lokomotiva are also enjoying life a lot more this season with players such as Leonard Mesaric back on board to team up with Pivaric, Komorski, Skvorc and Antolic from Dinamo. One deal the club may have to do in time is to bring Croatia Under 21 striker Andrej Kramaric in who has been stagnating at Dinamo to replace Nino Bule who could be moved on at the end of the season after outstanding service. Below them is HNL1's problem club HNK Rijeka. Three seemingly pointless Mexican arrivals have not worked out in the same way Argentine Ramon Fernandes did. Midfielder Damir Krielach and Andro Srvluga remain the heart beat of the team and the side has simply not had a goalscorer since Ahmad Sharbini went to Hajduk. Ahmad is struggling in Split and simply belongs in Rijeka if the club had the finances. Bosko Balaban is also a ex Rijeka star and would excite fans if he were to return home, but the player has in the past commanded huge wages so would not appear realistic. Jeonboek Krunoslav Lovrek, Lifan's six goal midfielder Ivan Bosnjak and Zelimir Terkes may also be successful should Rijeka offer them options to return to Croatia.

Despite having a more difficult season Cibalia are likely to retain their HNL1 status with Dino Kresinger and Mladen Bartulovic in their attack. Zadar however could experience serious problems if as expected HNL1 top scorer Ivan Santini transfers this winter. Vedran Gerc did not work out and was released. Ivan Rodic is a free agent and could be chanced upon. Hajduk would meanwhile be more than willing to send away Ivan Pesic, Dzoni, Mario Jelavic and Nikola Saric to gain confidence should Zadar need to take players. Goran Jozinovic also has been down at Zadar before. Zadar are being chased currently by Istra Pula who in Henri Belle and Karlo Primorac do have forwards. Coach Igor Pamic may also target Karlovac striker Enes Novicic as his former club is in serious financial problems, whilst Matias Chago could also come back to Pula. The team is also looking for a playmaker and could send a loan offer for Antun Palic.

Friday, 9 December 2011


Nobody can deny that Dinamo Zagreb were resounding dumped out the Champions League having failed to win a match in their outings against Real Madrid, Ajax and Lyon. The latter of which they lost 7-1. However in qualifying for the competition did they take a step forward in their ambition to be a serious European side. Results would show they cannot compete in the Champions League. However can Dinamo hope to perform better now in Europa Liga competition.

At the start of the season bringing Tonel, Josip Simunic and Jerko Leko to the club who had all had strong spells abroad with Sporting Lisbon, Hertha Berlin and Dinamo Kiev respectively demonstrate Dinamo could attract decent players. Besides this Nikola Pokrivac arrived from Red Bull Salzburg where his form was in and out. A huge talent in Domagoj Vida came to plug central defence and talents Milan Badelj, Ivan Tomecak, Sime Vrsaljko, Luis Ibanez, Sammir, Pedro Morales and Mateo Kovacic were already at the club. Despite results one thing the current standard has not had is time to grow together having come in during different stages of the season, whilst Dinamo also chop and change their squad at club level to include Mario Situm, Adrian Callello and Arjan Ademi.

With coach Krunoslav Jurcic having gone, it would seem Dinamo need to find the basis for a team that can play consistently together. Consistency however would not appear the only requirement. Dinamo for example has a strong attack for HNL1, but Fatos Beciraj, Ante Rukavina and Ivan Krstanovic all struggled in higher level European football. Although all three are likely to stay for the rest of the season, Dinamo's hope would be in signing one proven forward from abroard. Although Dino Spehar, Andrej Kramaric and Situm are talents they are not ready until loaned out to Lokomotiva or given HNL1 run outs. Although the concept failed in the past with Tomislav Sokota, Dmitrios Papadopoulos and Bosko Balaban, Dinamo need to go back abroad for their goalpoacher.

Palermo's Igor Budan, Wolfsburg's Srdjan Lakic or Bayern Munich's Ivica Olic is as such the type of forward they must bring in. Budan would clearly come if a healthy contract was on the table, whilst Olic and Lakic probably would have other choices. Outside of that Andrej Keric is treading water in the Czech Republic having initially blown away the league at Slovan Liberec. A return home could benefit him. Dinamo also need to look at a left back and Hjorve Cale and Dario Knezevic could do a lot of good for the club and get themselves back into international reckoning having lost their way in Wolfsburg and Livorno.

To bank roll these moves Dinamo need another sale and the most likely asset is Sime Vrsaljko who could transfer for around 6-8 million. Fatos Beciraj is also a sellable asset for around 2m Euros and the club could also clear out Jakub Sylvestr, Callelo, Morales and Mehmed Alispahic at a push. Matias Chago, Kramaric and Antun Palic could also go out on loan.

Friday, 2 December 2011


Croatia finally took their place in next years European Championships after defeating Turkey 3-0 in the play offs. Ironically the win buried the ghost of Euro 2008 where Croatia's most talented squad of the last decade shorn of star Eduardo Da Silva was defeated by their opponents on penalties after claiming three wins during the group campaign.

Ivica Olic came back in the nick of time to show he can still be a big threat and big help for Croatia and put in a hugely mobile attacking display alongside Mario Mandzukic. Nikica Jelavic, Nikola Kalinic and Ivan Klasnic have refound form at domestic level and will be good back up. Eduardo and Mladen Petric will also be fighting hard for their place. Ivan Perisic and Ivo Ilicevic are favorites to join Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric and Niko Kranjcar as attacking midfielders in the squad, but don't rule out Mato Jajalo who is playing well with Koln. Milan Badelj would appear to need a transfer to step to the level. At present alongside Drago Gabric he stands to miss out.

Daniel Pranjic was recalled to the squad and may have a chance as Croatia only has Ognjen Vukojevic and Tomislav Dujmovic as reliable defensive midfielders. However he needs to switch clubs as out the picture at Bayern Munich. Pranjic can also cover left back. Dnipro's Ivan Strinic may need to do more to bed down his left back slot as could miss out with Vedran Corluka moving across to put in a hugely accomplished display there. Corluka is certain to travel and Dinamo Zagreb's Sime Vrsaljko and especially Domagoj Vida may now be trusted at right back allowing Corluka to switch position and Darijo Srna to move back onto the right wing where he has played his best football for Croatia.

Rather than making slots for players Coach Slaven Bilic may now be prepared to let his squad fight it out for roles in his side leaving Ivan Rakitic and Niko Kranjcar in direct competition for the left wing slot. In the long run when Croatia need to rotate this could prove in the countries interest. In attack there will be a scramble with Klasnic and Petric not likely to give up easy on one last chance to represent their country at a Euro finals. Both have the quality to rack up a high goalscoring tally this season with Klasnic already on 6 and Petric having started brightly at HSV.

If Croatia have a worry it is in central defence and central midfield. Luka Modric is the teams star, but alongside him Dujmovic and Vukojevic are no Niko Kovac still. In defence Josip Simunic is making gutsy displays to roll back the years when he played alongside Igor Tudor, Robert Kovac and Dario Simic. However Croatia now longer have centre backs of that quality. Dejan Lovren's performances at club and international level are in and out despite the fact he is a talent. Gordon Schildenfeld has done well when called upon, but he is playing week to week in the German second Division despite being with the leaders Eintract Frankfurt. It is likely Croatia will have to go to the finals without a top rate centre back and that will be there weakness. Rostov's Stipe Pletikosa between the sticks is also welcome.

If there were to be any surprise packages in Croatia's squad it is only likely to be in the form of central midfielder Jerko Leko who can offer experience or Hertha Berlin's captain Andre Mijatovic. Manuel Pamic as alternative left back also stands a chance as is strong at Sparta Prague. The only other player really making waves is Darko Bodul with 10 goals already this season, but this is in the Austrian league.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


After a disappointing Euro 2012 qualifying campaign to date, Croatia has been undergoing change within the squad. Ivo Ilicevic, Nikica Jelavic, Dejan Lovren and Ivan Perisic are all welcome additions to the squad, but are yet to make their mark in a international shirt.

Besides Eduardo Da Silva's injury now over 3 years ago has made it hard for him to lead the attack and responsibility has had to be handed over with himself and Niko Kranjcar playing the supporting forward role. Jelavic has been a strong player in the Scottish league for Rangers, but needs to prove himself against top opposition. Nikola Kalinic as yet is most useful as substitute and Mario Mandzukic who has improved at Wolfsburg is still not trustworthy.

As for the squad players Srdjan Lakic has lost his way since going to Wolfsburg from Kaiserslautern. Although the player needed to switch clubs, Wolfsburg would appear the wrong fit with Mandzukic and Patrick Helmes preferred to him. It is disappointing that the old guard of Ivica Olic and Mladen Petric have dropped off. Olic needs to switch clubs from Bayern Munich where he has been successful. Nevertheless they now are looking to younger guys and Olic may return for one last venture with the national team if he gets a new club that suits him. Going back to Hamburg or to Russia would not be a bad thing for him. Should Dinamo Zagreb get him it would be a massive boost for the currently lightweight Croatian Champions.

Petric is still doing what Petric does for Hamburg, but some bad performances for Croatia encouraged Bilic to drop him from the squad. Similarly Daniel Pranjic, like Olic must leave Bayern and prove himself again. Unjustifiable perhaps he was dropped off the squad. Jerko Leko and Nikola Pokrivac improved their chances by going back to Dinamo, but its not expected they will return any time immediately. Milan Badelj is instead being looked at, but is no holding midfielder. Its essential Ivan Rakitic gets fit again.

One bright spark has been Mato Jajalo at Cologne. Ivica Vrdoljak is also still doing well at Legia Warsaw after a brilliant first season. Darko Bodul has also had a boost since going to Rapid Vienna. Both Vrdoljak and Bodul need to do it at bigger clubs. Petar Sliskovic at St Pauli, Boris Vukcevic at Hoffenheim and Matija Smrekar at Charleroi are as yet unproven talents.

There is in fact not much going on with Croatian players abroad. Igor Budan looks ready for Serie B or home at Palermo. Sasa Bjelanovic is still lending a helping hand in Serie B clubs, currently with 2 goals on board for Verona. Mate Bilic is out the picture at Sporting Gijon. Bosko Balaban also looks about finished at Pananios. Ivan Klasnic is giving his maximum with Bolton Wanderers, but this only masks the lack of young players doing it from Croatia just now.

Forwards actually doing okay currently are at home in Croatia. Zadar's Ivan Santini looks to have a career ahead of him. Leon Benko has got better whilst at Slaven Belupo and Ante Vukusic is still one to watch at Hajduk and Ante Rukavina is having a better season with Dinamo than last time out. Mateas Delic has not got much better at Gangwon however and could be heading home soon with Jeonbuk's Krunoslav Lovrek, who did well out in the Far East. Daniel Cesarec has struggled with Aris and Andrej Keric's loan to Teplice from Sparta is a step backwards. Mario Budimir has been steady at Egotelis but needs to go to the next level.

Monday, 25 April 2011


NIKO KRANJCAR Aged 26, Kranjcar is at a pivotal point in his career for club and country. The highly skillful playmaker has experienced moderate success during his time with Dinamo Zagreb, Hajduk Split, before impressing at Portsmouth and lately at Tottenham Hotspur. However to reach the level of a top player, Kranjcar needs a place in the first team at a strong club and is looking at his options. Only a player of the year performance by Gareth Bale has prevented Kranjcar from figuring much for Spurs this season. However Kranjcar is likely to attract interest from Aston Villa, Liverpool and others in England, plus Werder Bremen in Germany and also has interest in Italy so a move could be highly possible this summer.

MATE BILIC Although Mate Bilic has been part of the success story of Sporting Gijon in the last 3 years, this season he has been out of the picture. With Gijon yet again likely to retain their top flight status their is little room for Bilic who at 31 needs to move on. Although moves to Hajduk Split and RNK Split have been mooted, it is possible Bilic may sacrifice international football and return to playing in the Segunda Liga where he experienced success with Almeira, Gijon amongst others. Bilic is still contracted and a foriegn club is unlikely to pay compensation with the Croatia forward valued at 1m Euro's so any move is likely to be a loan.

DANIEL PRANJIC Despite being consistently rumoured to be on the exit door of Bayern Munich, the German champions have never been so revolutionary as to cut the squad so drastically. Pranjic is still a useful squad player for Bayern and new coach Jupp Heynckes may be tempted to keep the 29 year old Croatian international, whilst Arjan Robben and Frank Ribery have patchy fitness records. Pranjic has far from flattering interest from Feyenord, but must believe he can recieve a better offer.

MILAN BADELJ Whilst Sammir, Pedro Morales and Ante Rukavina endured quiet second halfs to the Croatian league campaign, Milan Badelj emerged to guide Dinamo to yet another league title victory. Despite a slow start to the season and a far from impressive beginning to his international career with Croatia, there is enough talent in the 22 year old midfielder to be worked upon. Such as in the case of ex Osijek defender Domagoj Vida, Badelj may well be recruited with Bayer Leverkusen a possible option or French club Olympic Lyon who are more than satisfied with how Dejan Lovren progressed after arriving from the Croatian capital.

ANTE VUKUSIC Despite a strong season in Croatia, Vukusic is far from ready for a big club and needs to develop. However the 19 year old needs to consider if staying in Split will help his development whilst the team continues to be under pressure from their fans in the shadow of being runners up to rivals Dinamo Zagreb. Vukusic may be best advised unloading that responsibility to a experienced player like Mate Bilic or Ivan Krstanovic and considering a switch to a Russian, German or Ukrainan club. Vukusic's main asset is his pace and getting into good positions to score. He is still raw talent, but a move to the right club could see him become a highly improved player.

IVAN TOMECAK Whilst Dinamo may look to hold onto Ivan Tomecak, for the player himself he may experience a step to the next level if he gained the right transfer. Tomecak is a more than handy right sided midfielder who is ready for the step up to the Russian league or in the Bundesliga. The Croatia Under 21 player has seen his impact this season reduced by injury, but has come back in time to help Dinamo over the finish line. For Croatia Tomecak is already as good as effective Turkish league based player Drago Gabric and long term could compete with Domagoj Vida and Sime Vrsaljko as reputy to Dario Srna.

IVAN KLASNIC Although Klasnic still has a year left on his Bolton contract, the 31 year old will consider if playing substitute satisfies his expectations. In the past Klasnic was targetted by numerous Bundesliga clubs, but after the improvement in the fortunes of Hanover, Numerburg, Kaiserslautern, Hoffenheim and Mainz, Klasnic may well become a target for a return to Germany at a club willing to give him more first team action. Johan Elmander is yet to acquire a new contract, but manager Owen Coyle is looking for a new number 9 with Daniel Sturridge and Carlos Vela both on his target list.

IVAN KRSTANOVIC After a highly impressive season in HNL1 with NK Zagreb, Bosnian forward Ivan Krstanovic will be hot property in the summer. Hajduk Split had previously balked at the idea of buying the player whilst Ahmad Sharbini was still on the books. However Ahmad is frustrated at how his Hajduk career has gone and Krstanovic would seem a more than worthwhile replacement. Krstanovic is a tall physical forward who could link up well with a more nimble number 9 like Ante Vukusic or Duje Cop. Hajduk also may well be in the hunt for Ivan Santini, although Ivan Lendric may be afforded a chance in the team when he returns from his loan.

Saturday, 9 April 2011


Despite numerous options, Croatia find themselves struggling to find a striker to make the number 9 shirt firmly there own. After Nikola Kalinic failed to impress against Georgia, Nikica Jelavic played the friendly with France, but was similarly anonymous. Bilic's has been attempting to build the next generation of strikers, but Croatia still appear in need of Ivica Olic, Eduardo Da Silva and potentially Ivan Klasnic, whilst new arrivals in the squad adjust to international football.

With Mario Mandzukic and Nikola Kalinic struggling to hold down regular places at Wolfsburg and Blackburn Rovers respectively, Jelavic who is a Rangers star forward would appear to have a head start. The 25 year old clearly needs time to fit in with Croatia's style of play. If fully fit and scoring it appears Bayern Munich's Olic is still Croatia's star man. Having lost pace Eduardo will compete with Ivan Perisic who impressed against France in support striking roles.

Slaven Bilic currently dismissed Ivan Klasnic for international matches. However Klasnic has been the most effective Croatian forward in the English Premier League, continually putting points on the board for his club with important goals. Whilst Klasnic, who scored twice in Euro 2008 is proven in European and domestic competition Mandzukic and Srdjan Lakic struggled of late. Mandzukic, Lakic and Kalinic will all need better seasons next year to convince Slaven Bilic they should be in the reckoning.

Mate Bilic also may feel hard done by to be dropped, but needs to depart Sporting Gijon in order to pick up regular football, even if back at Hajduk Split. Only a monster season could see him come back into the fold. In reserve Dinamo Zagreb's Ante Rukavina, Ergotelis's Mario Budimir, Sparta Prague's Andrej Keric and Aris Salonika's Daniel Cesarec have been nothing special this season. Sasa Bjelanovic of Atalanta and Igor Budan of Cesana may be in line for HNL1 after goals dried up. Keric and Budimir still have potential but need to do more.

Arminia Bielfeld's Josip Tadic has shown signs of improvement, whilst Hajduk's Ante Vukusic has had a strong season, but still has much to prove at high level football. Whilst Mario Gavranovic chose Switzerland over Croatia, all is not neccessary lost as young Croatian Under 21 player Petar Sliskovic shows signs of potential at Mainz, as does Hoffenheim's Boris Vukcevic.

Monday, 4 April 2011


Zadar slipped into the relegation zone at the weekend, after suffering defeat to Istra 1961. Zadar are now heavily reliant on Ivan Santini after allowing Zelimir Terkes to go to China with Chandong Lifan. Santini would remain the teams prize asset if Zadar were relegated and may be intrigued to do a deal with Hajduk Split, with whom they have been engaging in long running business. Things are looking more rosey with Osijek, after adding Marko Babic and Goran Ljubojevic the team is on the up. President Robert Spehar also is confident of bringing Jurica Vranjes in the summer. Tomislav Sorsa is being watched by Bochum and may be sold to finance a deal.

Slaven Belupo meantime sacked coach Mile Petkovic and replaced him with former player Roy Ferencina who impressed with Lokomotiva Zagreb last season. Ferencina immediately got a reaction at the weekend with a 4-0 win. Leon Benko with 3 goals in 6 matches needs to keep scoring for the team to keep comfortable in midtable. Tomislav Busic, however has disappointed and could be moved on in the summer. Sibenik and Istra keep fighting, but are yet to get themselves out of danger. Sibenik's purchase of HNL3 striker Drazen Jelic has been highly successful, whilst Mehmad Alispahic is key. With Pedro Morales, Sammir, Antun Palic and Mario Situm all on Dinamo's books its uncertain whether Alispahic made the right move in going to the Croatian capital. Palic, particularly has seen little football since moving across from Inter Zapresic.

It appears Zapresic will fight it out with RNK Split and Cibalia for the last Europa Liga spot. Zapresic have turned around their season in remarkable fashion under Ilija Loncarevic and appear to have a future star in Macedonian striker Aleksandr Trajkovski. Cibalia have enjoyed a similar good season with Dino Kresinger and Mladen Bartolovic forming a highly successful strike partnership. Rijeka may stay happy with midtable safety after a turbulant season. Dutch signing Sergio Zijler has yet to really prove himself. Similarly whilst Vedran Gerc may earn a new contract, Rijeka may look to a more experienced forward such as Ahmad Sharbini in the summer, who sees little football at Hajduk.

Hajduk themselves could be looking for a new coach in the summer as results have been stuttering under Goran Vukevic. A new striker to support Ante Vukusic seems vital, with Croatian international Mate Bilic a likely target from Sporting Gijon. Zagreb's Ivan Kristanovic could also be looked at after a strong season at NK Zagreb. Besides Vukusic, Marin Ljubicic has impressed in midfield and Srdjan Andric has performed better when pushed into a playmaker role.

Friday, 11 March 2011


HNK Rijeka have transferred star striker Radomir Djalovic after the Montenegrin international completed his medical with Russian club Amkar Perm. Amkar, who also have ex Osijek man Josip Knezevic long desired to sign the ex Zagreb and Arminia Bielfeld forward and have now tied up his signature.

Cash strapped Rijeka are now to rely on the inexperienced Vedran Gerc, Valentin Stepcic, Sandi Krizman and Sergio Zijler to take his place. Rijeka particular will need Dutchman Zijler to step up his game. Gerc, meanwhile is playing for a new contract after making just four appearences this season. Should neither man succede in filling Djalovic's boots the club could be set for a difficult end to the season.

Dinamo Zagreb are expected to make Ilija Sivonjic available at the end of the season. Bosko Balaban (Pananios), Krunoslav Lovrek (Jeonbuk Motors) and Tomo Sokota (Olymija Ljubljana) at present look set to stay on at their current clubs for another year, Whilst Antun Dunkovic is fighting for a new deal at Mechelen.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


Bolton Wanderers striker Ivan Klasnic has put himself back within a chance of returning to the Croatian national team after firing winners to defeat Fulham, Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup and against Aston Villa in the league. Such form will impress coach Slaven Bilic who is looking for a striker of such calibre after Mario Mandzukic and Srdjan Lakic struggled to find their form in the new year.

Mandzukic has still to score for Wolfsburg, whilst Lakic could lose out to the more experienced and proven hitman Klasnic. It was thought the 31 year old may be on the slide after Owen Coyle signed Daniel Sturridge to push Klasnic further down the pecking order behind Kevin Davies and Johann Ellmander. However Klasnic has thought back with the expert finishing and is likely to see more games as the season enters the vital months.

Another player who has enjoyed a reversal of fortunes is Josip Tadic, who scored his third goal for Arminia Bielfeld at the weekend after arriving from Grenoble. Bundesliga 2 seems more suited to the former Dinamo Zagreb and Osijek striker, who will aim to follow Ivo Ilicevic and Srdjan Lakic's example of attempting to return to high level football.

Elsewhere Rijeka could be in dissaray with star striker Radomir Dalovic on the verge of a move to the Russian league with Amkar Perm. The Montenegro international's departure leaves Rijeka relying on the unproven Vedran Gerc, Sandi Krizman, Valentin Stepcic and Sergio Zijler. Rijeka's would only be able replace Dalovic with a quick fire free agent signing with Ivan Bosnjak a possible option.

Thursday, 3 March 2011


Striker Ivan Bosnjak has finally settled his future after a year out of the game.

The 32 year old has signed with Chinese second division side Chongquin Lifan, along with fellow Croats Dario Dabac and Stjepan Jukic. Bruno Siklic however has left the club to sign for Hubei Zongboo.

Whilst Bosnjak has decided his club, defensive midfielder Gordan Golik is six months without a employer after leaving Lech Poznan. Former club Varazdin may be interested in taking the player, but would need to make a sale first. Renato Puncec is currently there prize asset whilst Filip Skvorc has also been impressing.

Meantime NK Lokomotiva have signed former Dinamo Zagreb striker Dario Zahora. Lokomotiva have allowed striker Ilija Sivonjic and Marko Simic to both leave in recent weeks leaving Nino Bule, Dodo, Ivan Peko and Dalibor Pandza as their only forward options. If Loko could get the experienced Zahora in tandum with Bule, they are likely to loan out Pandza.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


Istra 1961 have completed the signing of striker Ivan Rodic for the remainder of the season. Istra have had a big turnaround in their forward line with Bosko Stupcic and Edin Hadzic both heading out the exit door and Rodic, Eliomar, Franjo Tepuric and Mario Juric all arriving. Asim Sehic is still at the club and will look to form a partnership with Rodic. Rodic, already has 4 goals to his name from starting the season with Rijeka. His more than suspect release from the club has been to Istra's benefit.

Meantime there is little news on a new club for Ivan Bosnjak or Gordan Golik, however Marko Maric has signed with MLS Outfit Chicago Fire. The Fire were also interested in former Croatian international Marko Babic, but the 29 year old has decided to return home to sign with NK Osijek. Babic's arrival is one of the biggest signings of the season in the Croatian league. Elsewhere former Dinamo Zagreb forward Guillermo Suarez has signed with Chilean outfit DC O'Higgins and has already made an impressive start scoring 2 goals in his first 3 games. Meanwhile former Dinamo and Zapresic teammate Miroslav Saric is serving a prison sentance after attack a man outside a bar.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


NK Osijek have made a significant signing after recruiting striker Goran Ljubojevic, who has recently been playing regularly with AIK Stockholm. 27 year old will take the place of Vedran Niksic who joined Hungarian side Gyor. Powerful ex Croatian Under 21 international frontman Ljubojevic brings a wealth of experience from his time with Osijek, Dinamo, Racing Genk and NK Zagreb. Ljubojevic, will fight for a place alongside Ivan Milicevic, Josip Barisic and Anton Maglica.

Osijek are hoping Ljubojevic's arrival will encourage Marko Babic to join up who is currently a free agent after leaving Real Zaragoza. Jurica Vranjes has also been mentioned, who is still contracted to Werder Bremen till the end of the season. Whilst Ljubojevic has left Scandanavia, Domagoj Abramovic has returned to Finnish club Inter Turku after playing in the Greek second Division with Olympiakos Volos and Pierikos. Whilst Abramovic leaves Greece, Dino Drpic has finally suited up to a new club in the Superliga with AEK Athens. The 29 year old Croatian international has been without a employer for 12 months since leaving Karlsruhre.

Free agents Ivan Rodic, Gordan Golik, Ivan Bosnjak, Tomislav Vranjic and Marko Maric are still going to waste. Bosnjak and Vranjic had been training with Cibalia. Maric meanwhile is a former player of NK Zagreb, whilst Golik was linked with Varazdin as a replacement for Josip Brezovec. It is thought however Varazdin needed to make another selling to make room for his arrival. Lokomotiva meanwhile have sent Marko Simic on loan to Radnik Sesvete.

Monday, 31 January 2011


Croatian Under 21 international Darko Bodul has completed his much needed transfer out of Ajax, signing to Portuguese side Nachional. Bodul, 22 will team up with Dejan Skolnik who has impressed since arriving from Maribor. Elsewhere Ivan Klasnic is set for added competition after Daniel Sturridge signed on loan at Bolton Wanderers from Chelsea. Niko Kranjcar is staying put and won't be leaving Tottenham Hotspur as has only recently become a father.

As of this moment Marko Babic, Ivan Bosnjak, Dino Drpic, Miroslav Saric, Domogoj Abramovic, Ivan Rodic and Marko Maric are all still free agents and are free to move after the transfer deadline. However Jurica Vranjes will spend another six months without football after failing to gain a transfer out of Werder Bremen. Instead the 30 year old midfielder will run down his contract which expires in the summer.

Slovan Liberec meantime, have allowed striker Andrej Keric to transfer across to Sparta Prague after threatening to dump the former Cibalia player in the reserve team. Liberec were annoyed at the player running down his contract, but have finally recieved compenation for Keric who scored 6 goals this season so far.


Ahmad Sharbini finally looks likely to get his chance in peak season, after Hajduk Split dismissed the possibility of signing Zagreb's Ivan Krstanovic. After enquiring on the Bosnian forward Hajduk decided the fee would be a waste of money for a player who may possibly not give them more than ex Rijeka star Ahmad.

On the face of it, Hajduk's squad still looks lightweight without the transferred Senijad Ibricic and Ivan Strinic, but offers opportunities to a number of promising youngsters such as Marin Ljubicic, Mario Maloca, Marin Tomasov, Mirko Oremus and Dinko Trebotic to prove their worth. Mario Ticinovic is also likely to receive playing time, despite a quiet loan spell with Karlovac.

Zagreb themselves have been busy recruiting after Vedran Celjak's sale to Sampdoria. Carlos arrives on loan from Dinamo after successful spell in China with Shandong Leuneg. Another foriegn forward however comes to replace outgoing Albanian Sukaj in the form of Cesena's Franco Ciavarini. Slaven Belupo are also adding depth to their forward line with Tomislav Hajovic signing from Lokomotiva Zagreb.

Saturday, 29 January 2011


NK Zagreb look to be back in business after negotiating the sale of Croatian Under 19 star Vedran Celjak to Sampdoria for 500,000 Euro's. TBoldhe deal looks set to give Zagreb scope to move in the transfer market having been restricted in the last 12 months. With only HNL2 stars Vedran Celiscak and Krunoslav Rendulic returning fans would not have had much hope for optimism. However Zagreb now have fair wage packages to offer to free agents still on the market.

Zagreb may also have to expect a offer for 9 goal striker Ivan Krstanovic after Hajduk Split struggled to land prime target Mate Bilic. Krstanovic could give much needed depth to Hajduk's forward line. If such a deal is made, Ivan Rodic, Domagoj Abramovic, Miroslav Saric, Ivan Bosnjak and Ilija Sivonjic could all be monitored over the next week. Dario Smoje and Tomislav Labdurovic may also be considered to add strength to the squad which struggled under new coach Luka Pavlovic after making a fine start to the season under Ivo Susak.


Dinamo Zagreb striker Ilija Sivonjic has found himself back in limbo after Lokomotiva decided not to retain him for the peak season. Instead Loko will turn to Dodo to partner the vastly experienced Nino Bule in attack, with Ivan Peko, Dalibor Pandza and Marko Simic as support.

Sivonjic, arguably is in need of a complete change of environment to revive his career. The forward seemed ideally suited to Inter Zapresic where he impressed initially prior to his switch to Dinamo. However Zapresic since signed Aleksandr Trajkovic and Matija Matko who have both performed well and paid out for Albanian Arber Abilijaj. Unless Zapresic can farm out Abilijaj back to Albania then there is currently no room for Sivonjic.

More realistic is NK Zagreb who are light on strikers after realising Xhevahir Sukaj to Vllazina. NK Zagreb could also be a possibility for Ivan Rodic who is looking for a new club after surprisingly being let go by NK Rijeka. Zagreb would also be a realistic surrounding for Ivan Bosnjak or Miroslav Saric who are still without a club after over 6 months.

Friday, 28 January 2011


Slaven Belupo have made one of the coups of the January transfer window after signing striker Leon Benko. The 27 year old arrives on a free transfer from Kortrijk, having also spent time with Standard Liege and Nuremburg.

Benko should take to life easily back in HNL1, having shown enough abroad in stronger leagues to be a notable force. Benko was arguably just what Belupo were missing after Franjo Tepuric and Tomislav Busic failed to impress in the first half of the season. New signing Nikola Frzuljec also has not scored a goal this season. Benko is expected to partner Aljosa Vojinovic in attack with Stjepan Poljak and Goran Mujanovic supplying the creativity.

Meantime, Hajduk Split have ended their interest in Mladen Bartulovic after signing Sikori Briceg left back Josip Barisic. Barisic may have been signed as cover for Goran Jozinovic who could be set to gain his chance. Hajduk fans however may see this as a cheap option and missed chance to reinvest in the side, with other possibilities like Renato Puncec and Marko Babic declined. Mate Bilic's high profile switch from Sporting Gijon also seems to late in the transfer window to go through.

Bilic's Croatian international colleagues Ivan Rakitic and Srdjan Lakic have however made big money deals. Rakitic, who is one of Croatia's hottest talents has joined Sevilla from Schalke for 3m Euro's whilst goalscorer Srdjan Lakic moves across from Kaiserslautern to Wolfsburg. Lakic's switch is likely to leave Kaiserslautern vulnerable in the remainder of the season.


Czech forward Miroslav Slepicka is set to gain a break from his unhappy spell with Dinamo Zagreb as will spend the rest of season on loan with Grenther Furth in Germany.

Slepicka, 28 arrived two seasons ago, but failed to the net regularly. The former Sparta Prague man however has far from been outplayed by fellow strikers Jakob Sylvestr, Ante Rukavina or Fatos Beciraj in the goalscoring department. However his departure may now open a window of opportunity for Andrej Kramaric and Mario Situm to get some games.

Whilst Slepicka arrives in Feurth, captain Marino Biliskov has left to sign for Ingoltstat. The 34 year old however will be satisfied to obtained the transfer at such a point in his career.


Hajduk Split look set to add experience to their ranks having made their second major sale during the January transfer window recieving in total in the region of 10m Euro's. Following Senijad Ibricic's switch to Lokomotive Moscow, Hajduk want to bring Sporting Gijon's Mate Bilic to partner Ante Vukusic in a two man strike force. With Hajduk's new spending power they should be able to at least acquire Bilic on loan who has shown in switches to Spanish Segunda liga sides his main desire is to play.

Less realistic is Hajduk's pursuit of Mladen Bartulovic, who after reasonable spells in Krivbass and Arsenal Kyiv should be able to obtain a deal in Ukraine or Russia having already served his time as a young player in HNL1. Unlike Bilic, who is 31 Bartolovic is still only 24 and still has a career abroad in front of him. Should Hajduk achieve both transfers however it should recharge the team ahead of peak season.

More realistic purchases seemed to come in the form of ex Croatian internationals who lost their way such as Marko Babic and Jurica Vranjes. Sasa Bjelanovic meantime has gone back to Serie B in Italy with Atalanta.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011


Slovan Liberec have sent star striker Andrej Keric to the reserve team after the 24 year old former Cibalia man signed a prelimenary contract with Sparta Prague. Liberec appear frustrated that Keric made a deal which sees Liberec recieves no transfer fee as his contract expires in the summer. Keric scored 6 goals so far this season, building on his 16 goal tally in 2008/09 season which made him the Czech leagues highest scorer. Despite the break, the naturally pacey Keric, should be sufficiently prepared when he moves across to Sparta to team up with Croat defender Manuel Pamic.

Meantime, Darko Bodul has been made available on a free transfer by Ajax after failing to make a league appearence this season. Ajax were not too impressed by Bodul's performance out on loan with Sparta Rotterdam and resultantly signed new forwards leaving him down the pecking order. At 22 however Bodul can still bounce back and may look to the Belgian or Austrian league to revive his fortunes with Ivan Perisic and Nikica Jelavic examples of success to follow.

Elsewhere Dinamo Zagreb's long serving Brazilian full back Etto has signed for Greek club PAOK. The 30 year who holds Croatian citizenship has impressed since arriving back in 2005 clocking over 100 appearences as full back and wingman. Etto was expected to cover at right back if Sime Vrsaljko's move to Arsenal went through, but Dinamo may now turn to Ivan Tomecak leaving a vacancy for Pedro Morales to return to the team on the right wing. Dinamo also may allow Sammir to transfer soon having signed up Mehmad Alispahic, whilst Antun Palic can also cover. There is also question marks over the future of Ilija Sivonjic, who is no longer with Lokomotiva. Instead Dinamo are attempting to persuade Andrej Kramaric to join Loko on loan.


Ivan Strinic's surprise switch from Hajduk Split to Ukraine's Dnipro could open the door for Marko Babic to reestablish himself. Babic, 28 is currently a free agent and could prove an attractive signing for Hajduk who are looking for an experienced player having sold Senijad Ibricic and lost Srdjan Andric to injury. Although Hajduk have young defender Goran Jozinovic to cover left back and have recalled Mario Ticinovic, there roster looks on the surface to be too young to remove Dinamo from the top of the table. With Ibricic, gone Dinko Trebotic will step in, but barely has 20 games to his name. In attack Ante Vukusic has lost Ibricic's support and substitute striker at present is equally Duje Cop. Its therefore likely the eratic Anas Sharbini may be asked to play as a forward, with Ticinovic moving across to left wing.

A strong left back will therefore be key. Hajduk are however in the business of currently saving there money as shown in their disinterest in recruiting Ivica Krizanac as a 5th centre back. Babic, however has no serious injury and could be an option in a position where they are light. Another ex target Jurica Vranjes, meantime is not likely to be an option unless Werder Bremen release him from the remainder of his contract. Unfortunately for Hajduk, the money for Ibricic and Strinic came to late to make a deal for Sibenik's Mehmad Alispahic who instead moves to Dinamo at the end of the season. Varazdin's Roberto Puncec however still remains available.


RNK Split have made a surprise coup by signing former Croatian international and Zenit St Petersburg defender Ivica Krizanac. The 32 year old was not believed to be fancied by Hajduk, who put their faith in Jurica Buljat, Mario Maloca with Hjorve Vejic also on the books as cover. Krizanac however is expected to have a big impact around the club at RNK working under Ivan Katilinic.

Ex Hajduk coach Zoran Vulic has also been busy with Istra 1961 signing ex Slaven Belupo forward Mario Juric. The 34 year old has missed six months of football, but may add some experience. Bosko Stupic has been allowed to leave, whilst Eliomar, Edin Hadzic and Armend Alimi have been given another chance to prove themselves. Franjo Tepuric however is expected to start in attack with Asim Sehic.

Belupo themselves look to be heavily reliant on Aljosa Vojinovic after allowing Tepuric and more notably Mateas Delic to transfer. Similarly Rijeka will be placing trust in Radomir Dalovic, having released 4 goal Ivan Rodic. On the surface allowing proven HNL1 player like Rodic to go in order to purchase Sergio Zijler signifies financial stress. Rodic may surface in Croatia and may in fact be a target for Belupo, who are also questionably putting there hopes in Nikola Frzuljec who failed to score in the first half of the season for Dragovoljac.

No news in Varazdin, although Gordan Golik and Srebenko Posavec could still sign to cover for midfield hole left by the sale of Josip Brezovec. Ex Varazdin player Leon Benko was also up for sale on a free, but it appears neither Rijeka or Slaven Belupo who would normally be in for such a player have the wage package to offer him. Such restrictions would also explain why Ivan Bosnjak also continues to sit on the sidelines. However at 24, Miroslav Saric needs to suit up to a new club soon after failing to gain a proposition abroad.

At Lokomotiva, Dodo arrives to add weight to a forward line which should be sufficient for HNL1. Nino Bule continues to find the net and is rightly first choice with Dodo now joining Ilija Sivonjic and Marko Simic. With Domogoj Antolic, Tomislav Martinac and Ivan Peko in midfield Loko should also have sufficient creativity. With Almir Bekic gone, Croatia Under 21 star Arjan Ademi has been rumoured to arrive as Dinamo Zagreb coach Vaha Halilhodzic prefers Adrian Callelo, Brezovec and Matias Chago at the present moment in time.

Coming back to Dinamo, Zdravko Mamic could be set to embark on yet another high profile transfer with ex Lokomotiva defender Sime Vrsaljko wanted by Arsenal. Olympic Lyon and Croatia centre back Dejan Lovren also could be off to Fenerbahce. Meanwhile, Inter Zapresic coach Ilija Loncarevic is taking it easy after seeing his team go from the bottom three in the division to a top 5 place in the matter of a couple of months. Despite Antun Palic's transfer to Dinamo, Loncarevic's team were mainly bolstered by the return of Mario Grgurovic.

Sunday, 23 January 2011


Croatian internationals Mate Bilic and Ivan Klasnic could be set to be frozen out by Slaven Bilic if they are unable to find form in the second half of the campaign. Bilic, 30 and Klasnic soon to be 31 have struggled to find a starting place with Sporting Gijon and Bolton Wanderers respectively. For Bilic, the Premira Liga is a unforgiving league and Gijon who have worked magic with the aid of Bilic in last two seasons, look this campaign to be finding survival from relegation just that little bit harder. At 30 Spain may no longer be the place for Bilic to be and moves out to Turkey, France or even a loan move back to Hajduk Split seems his major hope of resalvaging his national team jersey. A huge shame for a player who showed immediate promise with 3 goals in just 5 games.

As for Klasnic, he is yet to be handed a Premier League start at Bolton Wanderers and it appears his one touch strikes to snatch important points such as at Everton and Stoke City may no longer do it for Manager Owen Coyle, who has his eye on Mexican talent Carlos Vela. With Arsene Wenger satisfied with Coyle's work with Jack Wilkshere a loan deal for Vela looks highly likely. Meantime Johann Elmander and Kevin Davies continue to keep Klasnic out and he may see little chance for the remainder of the reason. Klasnic does have interest from St Pauli, a club with personal meaning to him, but like many Croatian players whether Klasnic can forsake his Bolton contract is another matter. Whilst Klasnic is out of the picture its unlikely he'll feature for Croatia.

There is more positive news on Nikola Kalinic, who looks set to feature regularly under new Blackburn Rovers coach Steve Keen. Having scored against Malta it appears Kalinic will get the nod over Klasnic and Mate Bilic. At 21 Kalinic has more running power and may get more time than when he was featuring somewhat bizarre on Slaven Bilic's squad lists two seasons ago.

Disappointingly however Daniel Cesarec of Aris Salonika, Ante Rukavina of Dinamo Zagreb and to a lesser extent Mario Budimir of Ethnikos and Slovan Liberec's Andrej Keric have not found the neccessary form to challenge for a place. Mario Gavranovic also is out of the picture at Schalke. One name however to keep an eye on is Hoffenheim's Boris Vuckcevic.

STARS OF 2010/ 11

The diminitive playmaker of Tottenham Hotspur needs little introduction these days, but this season Modric has finally proven himself a class act in his rightful position in central midfield in arguably the most physical league in the world. Modric has been showing some classy moments in supply to Aoran Lennon, Gareth Bale and Rafael Van Der Vaart this season which has made Spurs one of England's most watchable sides. In keeping with his character, Modric still only 25 refuses to get carried away and is signed to a long term contract.

Lakic is a lesson for any young Croatian that leaves the domestic league early and finds his first season hard going that he can bounce back. Lakic had a unnoteworthy first season in Hertha Berlin after being signed from Kamen Ingrad. However a impressive spell out on loan at unfancied Dutch side Heracles did Lakic the world of good and he was snapped up by Kaiserslautern. Now in his third successful season with them he has been taking the Bundesliga by storm with 18 goals in 20 games in all competitions only half way into the campaign. For Croatia Lakic's arrival brings a new dimension to the forward line with a player of his kind having not been seen since Dado Prso and Tomislav Maric retired from the game. Arguably with such playmakers and crossers as Daniel Pranjic, Mladen Petric, Eduardo, Dario Srna, Niko Kranjcar, Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric a player like Lakic (plus Jelavic) with ariel prowess was the missing ingrediant. Lakic's teammate Ivo Ilicevic has also had a fine season and has edged in front of Drago Gabric to gain a place in the squad.

A player who would have gone unnoticed by many in Croatia is Tomislav Puljic who has been highly successful since his switch from Lokomotiva to FC Luzern. The only surprising thing is how this 27 year old with experience escaped the attention of Dinamo Zagreb. Puljic is a outright first choice centre back for the league leaders and has also contributed 3 goals in his 18 games so far. Puljic had been set to sign for Karlovac, but will be glad to have changed his mind as looks to have a career ahead of him abroad.

The price tag and stature of right sided defender Mario Baric has absolutely rocked in the last 12 months having firstly impressed at Karlovac leading to his switch to Belgian side AA Gent for a mere £264,000. 22 games on with appearences in the Europa Liga Baric is a important part of Gent who are currently placed 4th and now have Baric rated as a one million pound player. Baric is now 25, but looks set to join the likes of Ivan Leko and Tomislav Mikulic in forging a decent career for himself in Western Europe.

Leko himself has been in impressive form this season, somewhat surprisingly at the age of 32. The Lokeron man has 5 goals and 6 assists and this may indicate this could be the man to stabilise Hajduk following Senijad Ibricic's departure. However Leko is not going to want to leave Belgium whilst still in this kind of form and has a contract till 2013.

With still a year left on his contract at Shakthar Donetsk, the Croatian international star is still giving it his all to the Ukrainian club who are topping their domestic league and reached the last 16 of the Champions League coming up ahead of Arsenal in their group. For so long now it would be hard to think of there not being a Shakhtar Donetsk which continuously attacked down the wings through Dario Srna and Ravtzan Rat going on to feed the majestic Brazilians Jadson, Fernandiniho and Wilian. For Srna there is no real need to move. Whilst many Croatians have tried bigger clubs and leagues only to fall from grace, Srna has guarenteed himself 30 plus matches a season and is Croatia's second highest all time scorer to boot from his position on the right midfield. At 29, approaching 30 years of age next year, Srna may allow himself one last chance at a stronger league in Italy, England, Germany or Spain having little to lose. However only a Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Milan type club is likely to entice him.

It seems ridiculous how long Croatian Under 21 coach Drazen Ladic took to notice this exciting young attacking midfielder who compares in playing style to Mikael Ballack and Frank Lampard. Perisic is already a huge talent and is now in the second outstanding season in Belgium and is being cited by Everton as a replacement for Steven Pienaar. However agreeing a fee for a midfielder who scored 12 goals in half the season already and is contracted till 2015 will prove difficult. Bruges may be kind and let the player go for around 6m, but could be grossly undervalued in the long run. For Croatia, Perisic is currently a player Slaven Bilic insists on wasting and which indicates to the negative side of the HNS that many fans find distasteful that a misfiring Mario Mandzukic and struggling Dinamo Zagreb prospect Milan Badelj could ever be considered to be playing better than Perisic at the moment. Adding Perisic who can play in attack and midfield to a squad featuring the already proven Kranjcar, Rakitic, Srna, Pranjic and Modric is exciting for many Croatia fans. With Jelavic and Lakic, also joining the likes of Ivica Olic, Mladen Petric, Eduardo and Nikola Kalinic as options in attack the whole position in the Croatia National Team looks brighter.


Hajduk Split look set to retain the money recieved from the sale of Bosnia Herzegovina international playmaker Senijad Ibricic and put their faith in youth. Dinko Trebotic has been highlighted as the likely successor to Ibricic, whilst Mario Ticinovic has also been recalled from his loan at Karlovac and is expected to challenge Trebotic and Anas Sharbini for a starting place. Should the scheme fail Srdjan Andric may be pushed forward to supply the creativity with Mario Brkljaca, Erwin Bulku and first choice Marin Ljubicic able to cover the defensive midfield slot.

In attack Hajduk still seem satisfied with the performance of 19 year old Croatia Under 21 international striker Ante Vukusic to lead the line alone, with Duje Cop in support. Ahmad Sharbini whilst being linked with Istra 1961 should still see opportunities following Ibricic's departure to Lokomotiva Moscow. Hajduk could take chances on spending some of the Ibricic money to bring Mate Bilic from Sporting Gijon or Ivica Krizanac on a free transfer after issueing a come and get me plea after ending a hugely successful spell with Zenit St Petersburg. However Krizanac could only come if he can prove he is fit to play the majority of the games or if Legia Warsaw step up their interest in Jurica Buljat. At present however Hajduk seem happy to leave Buljat and Mario Maloca as their defensive pairing with Matej Jonjic and Hjorve Vejic as cover. Financially Hajduk may play safe with at least second place highly likely, when players such as former target Jurica Vranjes will also be cheaper to purchase.

Saturday, 22 January 2011



Miroslav Saric enjoyed a productive goalscoring season last campaign with Inter Zapresic. However his form drifted in Spring, leading Zapresic to return him to Dinamo and he is now a free agent. Saric, had an unsuccessful trial with Bucaspor, but could find himself back in HNL1 with Cibalia, Istra Pula and Zagreb all looking for creative forwards.

Former Croatia international Ivan Bosnjak would appear the biggest free agent coup for HNL1 sides looking for a new forward. Bosnjak was highly successful with Dinamo Zagreb, Hajduk Split and Cibalia before moving abroad with Racing Genk.

His last two seasons with Genk and Irakilis however were disappointing and although he is likely to be in demand in Croatia he will need to prove his fitness. Fortunately for the 31 year old HNL1 is not the most physically intense league on the continenent. Aging stalwarts as Tomislav Erceg, Robert Spehar, Davor Vugrinec, Nino Bule and Zjelko Sopic also enjoyed successful spells in the latter part of their careers in Croatia and there is no reason why Bosnjak can't follow in similar fashion. It is unlikely Hajduk would sign Bosnjak due to the players history with Dinamo Zagreb. However a deal with Dinamo is not out the question, although Rijeka, Istra Pula and former team Cibalia may be more likelier destinations.

After a fairly promising first half of the season at Rijeka, it was surprising the Kantrida based club allowed striker Rodic to go free. Rodic appeared able support to Radomir Dalovic, but Rijeka seemed unable to afford the players wages and instead will turn to Vedran Gerc and Sandi Krizman. Rodic netted 4 times in his short spell at Rijeka, building on the reputation he made whilst with Sibenik. Sibenik would love to have there former player back, especially with Mehmad Alispahic on his way to Dinamo at the end of the season. Rodic however may search for an engagement abroad, whilst Slaven Belupo may also be looking.


Former Varazdin player Gordan Golik is available on a free transfer after being released by Lech Poznan. Golik made 81 appearences for Varazdin before being signed by the Polish club for around 300,000 Euro's. However he has rarely been used in Poland and was made available at the start of August.

Maric, 27 plays in central midfield and could return to HNL1 after a disappointing last three seasons in which he played just 5 matches for Lille, scoring 1 goal and 4 matches at Skoda Xanthi before being released. Maric made something of a reputation for himself in Greece at Egaeleo which earned him a move to France. Offers in Greece may now be few and far between and so the former Zagreb player looks likely to return to Croatia.

It appears strange how Babic, a player with 49 caps for Croatia and experience in the Champions league with Bayer Leverkusen can remain a free agent for too long. Following his performances at the 2006 World Cup it was hard to forsee this, however Babic didn't impressed at Real Betis, Hertha Berlin or Real Zaragoza and needs to drop his level to a suitably sized club where he will play. Babic's inactivity has been a lost option for Croatia for whom he had regularly given a good account of himself.


IN: Milan Duricic (Buducnost), Sergio Zijler
OUT: Ivan Rodic, Miroslav Karoglan (Armed Forces), Mikael Yourrawsky

IN: Marijan Budimir (Zapresic)
OUT: Mario Ticinovic (Hajduk Split), Goran Juros (Weitz)

IN: Krunoslav Rendulic (Lucko), Vedran Celiscak (Medimurje), Neven Markovic (Kerkya), Carlos (Dinamo)
OUT: Zhevahir Sukaj (Vllazina), Josip Mikulic (Chicago Fire), Dino Stiglec (Lucko), Vedran Celjak (Sampdoria)

IN: Jakov Surac, Marin Alexon (Hajduk)
OUT: Ferdo Milin (Retired)

In: Nikola Frluzjec (Dragovoljac), Leon Benko (Kortrijk), Tomislav Hajovic (Lokomotiva)
Out: Francis Tepulic (Istra 1961), Goran Bulic (Slatina), Mateas Delic (Gangwon), Tomislav Labudurovic, Filip Marcic (RNK Split)

In: Franjo Tepulic (Belupo), Julio Barrabes, Dario Puric (Steel), Mario Juric (Slaven Belupo), Mirko Plantic (Sesvete), Igor Weitzer (Sikori Briceg)
Out: Marijan Markovic (First Vienna), Gjerj Bushaj, Bosko Stupcic, Igor Zurzinov

OUT: Boris Leutar (Retired)

IN: Antun Palic (Zapresic), Josip Brezovec (Varazdin)
OUT: Dodo (Lokomotiva), Igor Vidakovic (Dragovoljac), Etto (PAOK), Miroslav Slepicka (Feurth), Carlos (Zagreb)

IN: Mario Ticinovic (Karlovac), Mario Sacer (Varazdin)
OUT: Tonci Kukoc (Dragovoljac), Senijad Ibricic (Lokomotiv Moscow), Leo Novak (NK Zagreb), Marin Alexon (Zadar), Ivan Strinic (Dnipro)

IN: Igor Vidakovic (Dinamo), Tonci Kukoc (Hajduk)
OUT: Alen Mesanovic (Sloboda Tuzla), Nikola Frzuljec (Slaven Belupo), Leopold Novak (Hajduk), Plumb Jusufi (Gorica)

IN: Ante Budimir (Gorica), Ivan Mrsic & Mirko Kramaric (Lokomotiva), Tomislav Ivankovic (Brdovec)
OUT: Antun Palic (Dinamo), Nenad Nikolic, Mario Sopic

IN: Dodo (Dinamo), Walid Atta (AIK), Lamin Sametah (Steve Biko)
OUT: Ivan Mrsic (Zapresic), Almir Bekic (Sloboda Tuzla), Ilija Sivonjic, Tomislav Hajovic (Belupo)

IN: Mark Leskovic (Suhopolje)
OUT: Sasa Novakovic & Toni Kacunic (Crikvenica), Peter Stojkic, Vedran Niksic (Gyor)

IN: Filip Marcic (Slaven Belupo), Ante Capin (Imotski), Ivica Krizanac (Zenit)
OUT: Petar Simic, Dalibor Mandaric (Imotski), Ivan Muslin (Solin), Qeremi Shpat

IN: Srebrenko Posavec (Slaven Belupo), Antonio Asanovic (Hajduk), Matias Zubak (Sesvete)
OUT: Josip Brezovec (Dinamo), Mario Sacer (Hajduk), Stjepan Kokot & Dario Suntesic (Medimurje), Matija Katanec (Baumgarten)

IN: Dario Kristo (Omis), Marko Culic (Junak)

Thursday, 6 January 2011


SC Freiburg midfielder Ivica Banovic will continue his career with SV Duisburg after agreeing a switch last week. Banovic has enjoyed a successful career to date in Germany playing his football with Werder Bremen, Nuremburg, before guiding Frieburg to promotion. At 30 years of age, Banovic will be satisfied to still be attracting competitive German clubs which opportunities of promotion.

Banovic, will be joined in Bundesliga 2 by Josip Tadic, who needs to rebuild his career at Arminia Bielfeld after a poor spell in France with Grenoble. Mario Gavranovic also looks set for a Germany switch going from Schalke to St Pauli, however this deal is yet to be completed. In Holland Dario Vuckcevic will play the remainder of the season with Venlo after failing to establish himself at FC Twente.

Free agents Marko Babic and Dino Drpic will also need to suit up to a new club as soon as possible. Drpic at present is closest to a new employer after interest from Greek club AEK Athens. Ajax's Darko Bodul also requires some football, whilst Werder Bremen also will like to see the back of defensive midfielder Jurica Vranjes.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


Dinamo coach Vahid Halilhodizic is guarenteed to be never short of options after the club bought a series of new players in December. Josip Brezovec arrives from Varazdin most likely to deputise for the injured Matias Chago. Brezovec however still has a fight to displace Arjan Ademi and Adrian Callelo in order to see any playing time. Similarly Antun Palic, who joins from Inter Zapresic must battle with Milan Badelj, Sammir and Pedro Morales for a space in the squad. Mateo Kovacic and Mario Situm were also brought up from the youth system. Should Sibenik also allow Mehmed Alispahic to sign up, Dinamo however may consider transferring Sammir or Badelj, but neither are likely to go for less than 8m Euro's.

In order to replace Brezovec, Varazdin may turn to their former player Gordan Golik who is still only 25 and available on a free transfer. Srebrenko Posavec has also been training with the club and may now be signed up to a contract. Slaven Belupo and Rijeka may also be hunting for new players. Belupo agreed a deal worth 2m Euro's for star forward Mateas Delic to join Gangwon in South Korea. Meantime Amkar Perm and Sheffield Wednesday are preparing a deal to sign Rijeka's Montenegro international striker Radomir Dalovic.

It would the third occasion Dalovic would have left Croatia to move abroad, but would open the door for Rijeka to attempt to re-sign Ahmad Sharbini from Rijeka. Bnei Sahknin's Dario Zahora could also become a target although he is currently under contract. Former Dinamo Zagreb player Ivan Bosnjak is still looking for a club which may interest Belupo or Rijeka, whilst Leon Benko may also be closing under the microscope having just been released from Kortrijk.

Many in demand HNL1 forwards may require transfer fees. Cibalia's Dino Kresinger and Mladen Bartolovic have enjoyed excellant seasons, whilst HNK Split have also been satisfied with the work of Romano Oblinovic and Bojan Golubovic. Another forward on the look out for a move is Dinamo's Brazilian striker Dodo who would welcome a switch to another HNL1 side such as Slaven Belupo or in form Inter Zapresic.