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.