Croatia has provided a great hunting ground for clubs looking to sign the next big thing, especially when it comes to talented midfielders. In recent times they have produced Niko Kranjcar, Luka Modric, Ivan Rakatic, Alen Halilovic, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic.
That is an incredible list of names, and there looks to be one soon to be added to that list with young Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Ante Coric the latest to catch the attention of Europe’s elite.
The attacking midfielder has long been seen as a big talent and even moved to Austrian outfit Red Bull Salzberg at a young age to further his development. Coric commented on the move
“I wanted to become a Red Bull Salzburg player because my team-mates here are better than players of the same age anywhere else. We train better and more often than others. And I was very impressed by how warmly I was welcomed.”
And this is a move that certainly helped to develop him, but when Dinamo Zagreb came in with a €900,000 bid (a huge fee for a 16-year-old), it was a move he couldn’t turn down as he knew first team football was just around the corner.
Since joining Zagreb, he has gone on to progress through the Croatia youth teams, eventually being capped recently at senior level. He also became the youngster player to score in the Europa League, as well as being voted the Best young Croatian player in 2015.
But as has been the case, Dinamo Zagreb cannot hold onto these players when the big boys coming knocking, and it won’t be long before he takes the next step in his journey. Most recently, Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with a move. Of course, this is a road Spurs have trodden once before when they brought Luka Modric to English football.
And it is the former Tottenham star that Coric has been likened to. He has great agility on the ball and drifts past players as if they are not there, in a similar way to Modric. And he also has that vision that Modric displayed at times, able to create space for his teammates. He is very comfortable with both feet and looks every bit a true playmaker, with a great awareness of space.
And this is exactly the type of player that Tottenham have needed this season. Yes, they missed Kane, but they also struggled to create openings. They have far too many players who are physically impressive, but really lack the type of player who can pick the lock instead of kicking the door down.
At £15million which is being touted, you have to say that it is a risk worth taking, especially when you consider some of the fee’s Tottenham have shelled out on average players recently. Coric has the potential to follow in the footsteps of the golden generation of Croatian midfielders, and Tottenham will do well not to miss out.