Josip Ilicic is a Slovenian midfielder who currently plays for Italian side Fiorentina in Serie A. He started off his career in 2007 at the age of 19 with Slovenian club Bonifika Izola. The following season he was picked by fellow Slovenian side Interblock. It was at Interblock where the Slovenian started showing glimpses of his form. He spent 2 seasons with them in Slovenian top division and scored 12 goals in 55 appearances. Interblock was relegated to the second division and Ilicic being their best footballer by far was being picked up by Maribor at the start of the 2010 season. Ilicic had a flying start to his career at Maribor and was extremely influential for the team in the European clashes. He made such a quick impact that after just 5 games for the Slovenian side in the league, Italian side Palermo had acquired Ilicic from Maribor for a fee believed to be in the region of 2.3 million Euros.
Once Ilicic was at one of the premier European leagues, his form seemed to become better. He was influential in his very first match and was very good on the ball. He showed great composure and was about to score in the dying half of the match. Within a couple of weeks, he became a fan favourite and also became a regular in the Palermo squad. He scored his first goal against then champions Inter. Ilicic was turning out to be a big match performer with goals against the likes of Juventus, Fiorentina and Roma. In his second season at Palermo, the Slovenian struggled a bit but was back to his best in the 3rd season. Following his impressive performances for the Italian side, Ilicic was then picked by up Seria A rivals Fiorentina. Ilicic continued his fine form with Fiorentina as well and scored 6 seasons in his very first season with them. However, it was the 2014-15 season, where he became more successful and scored a total of 10 goals in all competitions and thereby finished as the club’s top scorer.
In the current season, he has scored 12 goals and has registered 5 assists under his name. He has created 41 chances and has completed 631 passes with a passing accuracy of 81%. Out of them, close to 60% were forward passes. His best game of this season was against his old club Palermo where he was just too good on the ball. He also has a 52% shot accuracy and is defensively good on the ball as well. Ilicic is supposedly very good on the creative side. He also created 44 chances in the last season with an average pass accuracy of 83%. Ilicic hardly gives the ball away and his passes find his target more often than not.
Both Liverpool and Tottenham are supposed to be in the market to avail the services of the 28-year-old Slovenian. Well, Ilicic does look like a type of player that would fit in perfectly in either of the squad. He is an attacking midfielder who also defends well. He is good on the runs going forward and doesn’t mind falling back as and when it is required. If he has lost a ball, he runs hard and tries to recover the ball by himself. Both Liverpool and Tottenham are teams who have more recently thrived on the counter-attacking style of football. They are very good in breaking an attack and then extremely good in runs going forward on the counter. Both Klopp and Pochettino would love to have a man in their midfield who offers the same qualities as Ilicic. The Slovenian has agreed to the option of moving to the EPL. In a recent interview, he said that he is aware of the speculation surrounding him and would be willing to move away if it satisfies everyone.
Liverpool looks more likely of the two clubs to wrap up the Slovenian with Klopp putting him at the list of his priorities. However, it wouldn’t be much of a shock if Pochettino leap frogs the German and gets Ilicic to sign for Tottenham.