Saturday, 14 September 2013


NK Osijek's plight was demonstrated further during the close of the transfer window as 10th placed Hrvatski Dragovoljac strengthened their side and defeated them to climb off the foot of the table. Whilst Dragovoljac were able to pick up Stipe Bacelic-Grgic and Drazen Jelic on a free transfer, Osijek were forced to sell off Domagoj Pusic to Rijeka.

With Dinamo Zagreb swarming around Osijek for Karlo Lulic, it may be best to take the offer believed to be around 1-2 million Euro's and look to hold out for the rest of the season. Dinamo themselves, may be keen to agree a mega money transfer of Alen Halilovic, now that a more settled Sammir has returned to the fold and left the talented youngster out on the sidelines. Halilovic still has plenty of chances to impress with games coming thick and fast not only in HNL1 but also the Europa Liga.

Such pleasures are just a distant memory for Osijek who may be reliant on former players to do them a favour to avoid relegation. Goran Ljubojevic has returned to the club, but coach Davor Rupnik has delayed placing him in the starting line up with out of form Mihael Pongracic and Josip Barisic preferred to him. Getting the 29 year old match fit and playing from the start seems key. More help is also need in central midfield where much rests on experienced Frane Vitaic and Tomislav Sorsa. Ex Croatia international Marko Babic, 32 may be willing to help Osijek again for half a season and would play in Lulic's position should the youngster be sold.

Concerning however for Osijek is that main rivals Dragovoljac, Slaven Belupo and Zadar have been able to strengthen. Whilst helping them by signing Pusic, Rijeka however did no favors to Osijek by loaning Zadar experienced defender Mato Neretljak and striker Josip Tadic who are two players they can revolve their young and hard working team around. Similarly Slaven Belupo have improved their creative midfield signing Filip Ozobic and Dominik Glavina. Goalscoring remains their key issue however and many are still mystified at coach Ivan Katilinic's decision to outcast the leagues all time highest scorer Davor Vugrinec in favor of Matteo Roskam who is yet to impress since joining from Sikori Briceg and does not appear suited to this level. Vugrinec, 38 may decide to drop down the leagues possibly NK Varazdin or retire.

Few players remain on the market for Osijek themselves to improve their squad. Dino Drpic, 32 and Ivan Bosnjak 34 are more likely to consider joining a ambitious HNL2 club such as NK Zagreb, Cibalia, Inter Zapresic or Sesvete. Ahmad Sharbini is yet to recieve free papers to release him from Al Wahda and could find a stronger club. Such players as Bosnjak and Sharbini could be more of what Belupo themselves may be keen on.