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.