Wednesday, 4 September 2013


NK Zadar and Hrvatski Dragovoljac responded to recent victories by Slaven Belupo and Osijek by strengthening their squad before transfer deadline. Zadar allowed centre back Igor Prahic to transfer to Romanian side Vaslui but signed experienced Rijeka defender Mato Neretljak as replacement. Neretljak had a decent season last year for Rijeka, but was allowed to move on as the club looked to younger options. Neretljak, 34 has had a strong career with Osijek and Hajduk Split before enjoying a spell abroad in South Korea with Suwon Blue Wings and in Japan and also played for the Croatian National Team. Neretljak is known as a goalscoring centre back. Zadar also strengthened their attack, finally replacing NAC Breda's Stipe Perica who they sold to Chelsea in the summer. Josip Tadic, 26 has arrived on loan having spent the early season unable to force his way into the Rijeka line up with in form Leon Benko, Anas Sharbini and Ivan Krstanovic ahead of him. Following Andrej Kramaric's arrival from Dinamo Zagreb, Rijeka decided to let Tadic go. However the former Melbourne Heart striker will enjoy more first team action in Zadar competing only with Zelimir Terkes and Josip Ivancic for a starting berth.

Rijeka themselves have been busy and signed up Osijek defender Domagoj Pusic for 200,000 Kuna and Cibalia's Matej Mitrovic for 100,000.

Hrvatski Dragovoljac have made the biggest moves in the transfer market signing three new players, Drazen Jelic, Matias Zubak and Stipe Bacelic-Grgic. Jelic has a wealth of experience with Sibenik and Split and will bolster the forward line, however Zubak and Bacelic-Grgic in particular are expected to notably improve the team central midfield. Bacelic-Grgic impressed with Istra 1961 last season and left to seek a contract abroad, but with few offers available he has returned to Croatia.

Hajduk Split meantime have sold goalkeeper Goran Blazevic to Levski Sofia and midfielder Steven Lustica to Adelaide United in an attempt to reduce their wage bill. Abroad Mladen Petric has completed his dream return to the Premiership with West Ham United, after struggling to impress last season with Fulham for whom he scored 5 times. Petric, 32 is keen to impress after the East London club gave him a second chance.