Sunday, 12 August 2012


After qualifying for the third qualifying stage of the Champions League Dinamo Zagreb have decided to retain the services of star striker Fatos Bequiraj, who was a target of Hoffenheim. The Montenegrin International showed his worth in the sides 4-0 victory over Sherrif of Moldova. The powerful frontman at present appears invaluable to Dinamo's cause, with Ante Rukavina and Duje Cop also making positive starts to the season.

Dinamo have however parted with playmaker Milan Badelj who will sign for Hamburg to replace David Jarolim. Badelj has served Dinamo excellantly, but does not wish to renew his contract in 2013, leaving Dinamo in need to cash in on their prize asset. Dinamo also have adequate cover in central midfield with Jerko Leko, Nikola Pokrivac, Arjan Ademi, Adrian Callelo and Matias Chago all on the books. Ademi thus far has been unsettled at Dinamo and Badelj's departure may help the former Sibenik man to gain more playing time. Dinamo have also taken in form Marcelo Brozovic back from his loan spell at Lokomotiva.

Had Bequiraj transferred Dinamo were looking for former Croatia international striker Ivan Klasnic to add experience to their front line. However such a deal no longer seems on the card, with Klasnic expected to sign for Turkey's Gaziantespor. Klasnic had a fairly successful time with Bolton Wanderers, but was in need of change of scene. With first team football far from certain with Deportivo La Coruna and competition in HNL1 limited, Klasnic appears to have chosen the more competitive Turkish Superliga for his new destination. Rijeka have made a staggered start to the new season with many new players taking time to gel. Rijeka have responded by adding a high calibre forward to their strikeforce with Daniel Cesarec coming in from Maccabi Haifa. The 29 year old has impressed in Greek football, but is in need of a new challenge and should support Leon Benko to add more goals to Rijeka's game.

Whilst RNK Split, Osijek and Slaven Belupo have also started the season well, Cibalia, Inter Zapresic and Zagreb have struggled. Cibalia have been linked with Josip Lukacevic and Ivan Bosnjak, having failed to persuade Dino Kresinger to return for another season. Zapresic are also in need to sharpen up their forward line with a experienced striker. Former player Ilija Sivonjic is still available, as is Karlo Primorac. Slaven Belupo strengthened their title challenge with the recruitment of defender Mario Baric, who enjoyed two strong seasons in Belgian football with Genk. RNK Split meanshile signed Denis Glavina and Ivan Radeljic.

Sunday, 5 August 2012


Dinamo Zagreb had been enjoying their summer largely unaffected ready to start the season with no great upheaval to their squad or coaching staff. However, the Croatian Champions finally have a problem to contend with, with their Montenegrin international striker and top scorer Fatos Beciraj linked with a reported four million Euro transfer to Hoffenheim. It may prove a deal Dinamo are willing to take as it is a profit on the player they bought for just under a million from Buducnost Podgorica only two years ago. However Dinamo still harbour ambitions of Champions League football and Beciraj is need to help them reach the final qualifying rounds.

Beciraj himself is probably ready for the step up and for the club their is currently little point in elevating the career of a forward who is never going to represent Croatia and will in all likelyness be a key figure for Kosovo. Selling Beciraj also effects the team less than losing Milan Badelj, Sammir, Luis Ibanez or Sime Vrsaljko. However Dinamo do not now have enough in attack to launch a campaign in Europe despite positive results against Spartak Moscow and Dinamo Kiev in friendlies. Striker Duje Cop is seen as a impact substitute, as is the erratic Ante Rukavina. Andrej Kramaric and Mario Situm meanwhile have been sent to learn their way for a full season with NK Lokomotiva. Ivan Krstanovic is mainly for knocking off HNL1 opposition after a fairly decent first year with the club. Dinamo will be looking for a player with European experience.

Selling Beciraj may lead to Dinamo scrambling for free agents the most enticing of which is Ivan Klasnic. His current suitors are unknown and his attitude is not known after a time of highs and lows in English football with Bolton Wanderers. Guarenteed first team football may however interest him.

The options for striking reinforcements are becoming few and far between and this is something that could be of concern not only to Dinamo but Hajduk Split. Hajduk must sell Ante Vukusic in order to pay Sibenik who are owed money. Whilst Vukusic may attract a bid and they have tied up a deal with Osijek for Anton Maglica, that is currently only being seen as to deputise for losing Ivan Lendric to Zulte Varegem. When Hajduk begin their new season, fans may be justifiable concerned as on paper Rijeka, Split and Slaven Belupo currently look stronger. Losing Drago Gabric, Mario Ticinovic and Srdjan Andric has also significantly weakened the midfield. RNK Split benefitted from Hajduk's woes by snatching Istra 1961's Henri Belle, who in turn replace him with Hajduk's most experienced forward Ahmad Sharbini. Alongside Sandi Krizman that gives them a strong front line.

Hajduk's shining light is that Cibalia and Osijek look to be considerable weakened this season due to financial problems. Osijek wished to hold onto Goran Ljubojevic and Marko Babic for a second season, but are forced to go again with young players. They still have Vedran Jugovic, Tomislav Sorsa and Ivan Milicevic on board. Osijek need the Intertoto Cup for the club to promote their stars in order to attract a transfer.

HNK Rijeka are looking more than well set up for the new season with Drago Gabric, Dario Knezevic and Jurica Vranjes fully integrated into the new look team. A goalscoring forward to partner Benko has however thus far evaded them. Goran Mujanovic can play a back up role, however Rijeka may search the free agent market for a proven goalscoring forward. Zdravko Popovic and Daniel Cesarec have both had a relatively successful time in Greece and may fit the bell and been released by Leviadkos and Maccabi Haifa respectively.

Slaven Belupo are also weighing up whether the recruit a forward having allowed Bojan Vrucina to sign with Hungary Kaposvari. At 37 Davor Vugrinec is in his twilight years and Martin Saban is still unproven in HNL1. A lot of pressure is on Tomislav Busic this season, whilst Mateas Delic has started well after returning from Gangwon of South Korea. Belupo could possibly take a chance on former Varazdin striker Matija Smrekar who is looking for a new club after failing to find himself at Sedan and Charleroi. A two year deal could suit both parties with Belupo ultimately needing a long term solution to Vugrinec.