Monday, 8 July 2013


Slaven Belupo are hunting for a new number nine after new head coach Ivan Katilinic conducted a clear out following dissatisfaction with his squad, which tailed away towards the end of the season.  Borislav Filipovic (Istra), Ante Batarelo (Istra), Alen Maras, Mario Baric (Vojvodina), Martin Saban, Davor Vugrinec and Mario Jelavic have all been cut from the roster.  Elvis Kokalovic (Konjaspor) and Igor Bubnjic (Udinese) have meantime moved abroad to stronger clubs allowing Belupo to strengthen. So far Belupo's forward line of Mateas Delic, Enes Novicic and Matteo Roskam does not appear to be strong enough.  Katilinic needs to find one experienced finisher to avoid Belupo being pulled into a relegation battle with Dinamo, Hajduk, Rijeka, RNK Split and Lokomotiva already showing their intention to fight their own battle at the top.

Krunoslav Lovrek and Sasa Bjelanovic are two proven goal scorers but are set to slip through the net of HNL1 clubs.  Lovrek, played little for FC Sydney last season making four appearences.  Despite being 33 Lovrek should still have enough in the tank, but has chosen to sign with NK Sesvete in the improved and revamped Croatian second division.  Sasa Bjelanovic, 34 is similarly proven but is close to a transfer to Serie B with Crotone and Varese chasing his signature. Bjelanovic has enjoyed a rich career in Italy with Como, Chievo, Ascoli, Genoa, Torino, Verona, Atalanta and with greatest effect at Vicenza. Bjelanovic recently expressed a desire to play his last season in Zadar, who themselves, sold one huge asset in Croatia Under 19 forward Stipe Perica to FC Chelsea.  The deal allows Zadar to bring another forward with former player Dragan Blatnjak waiting in the wings as potential replacement for Perica.

Ahmad Sharbini also is a proven scorer despite falling on hard times since his moved from HNK Rijeka to Hajduk Split and is currently with Al Wahda. Belupo need to act quick to contract a forward as their are seemingly less players of the standard of Leon Benko who they were able to bring back to Croatia from Belgium and is currently the leagues top striker with Rijeka.  Osijek who were in similarly needed snapped up Goran Ljubojevic and are assessing Vedran Niksic's situation with NK Zagreb.