Scout Report – Andrej Kramaric
According to reports from German outlet SportBILD, Liverpool are interested in signing TSG Hoffenheim striker Andrej Kramaric.
The 26-year old who had a not-so impressive stint in the Premier League with Leicester City a couple of years ago, is coming on the back of a strong season for the Bundesliga outfit, scoring 18 goals and registering 8 assists from 36 games in all competitions.
The report from the latest edition of SportBILD has claimed that Liverpool are monitoring the Croatian forward, with Tottenham Hotspur also watching him. With interests from two big Premier League clubs, let’s take a closer look at what Kramaric would offer if he moves back to England.
Born in Zagreb, Croatia, on 19 June 1991, Kramaric began his footballing journey with hometown club and Croatian giants Dinamo Zagreb as a six-year old. The forward went on to smash all kind of goal-scoring records in his youth career, scoring over 450 goals for the Dinamo youth teams – the highest in the club history.
He made his bow for the senior team in May 2009 as a 17-year old, which was his only appearance in 2008-09. He was a full member of the senior team from next season on and went on to score 7 goals in 24 league games, helping Dinamo to the league title. However, with a managerial change the following season, his first-team opportunities reduced largely as he made just 14 appearances scoring once in 2010/11. As a result, he was loaned out to NK Lokomotiva in February 2012, where he played 14 times, scoring on 5 occasions.
Still on loan with NK Lokomotiva for the 2012/13 campaign, Kramaric really began to flourish as he found the back of the net 15 times and set up 8 more goals in 32 games – finishing as the second highest goal-getter in the league. Upon his return to Dinamo ahead of the 2013/14 season, things still failed to improve with respect to his playing time, due to which he moved to fellow Croatian side Rijeka in August 2013.
Kramaric continued his growth into one of the most devastating forwards in Croatia with Rijeka as he scored for his new club on his debut and followed it up with a mind-boggling performance where he scored 8 goals in a cup match against BSK Zmaj. The Croatian finished the season with a brilliant return of 30 goals from 41 games in all competitions.
He continued to enhance his burgeoning reputation the following season, scoring 21 goals in 30 games for Rijeka, before Leicester City came calling in January 2015. On joining the Foxes for the second-half of the 2014/15 season, Kramaric managed to score only thrice in 15 games. With no game time coming his way in the 2015/16 season as well under Claudio Ranieri, Kramaric decided to move to Hoffenheim on loan in January 2016. He scored 5 times for the Germans between then and the end of the season, prompting them to sign him up on a permanent basis. He has more than repaid the club’s faith with a strong first full-season with them.
Till date, he has scored 23 times for Hoffenheim, in 51 games and has set up 12 goals too. Having represented the Croatia youth international teams across all age groups, Kramaric was a prolific scorer on the international scenes as well and made his Croatia senior debut in September 2014. As of now, he has played 21 times for the national team and has scored 5 goals.
Style of Play
Primarily a striker who excels in a lone role at the top, Kramaric’s versatility enables him to play as an auxiliary striker too and out on the flanks as well.
Not the tallest at 177cm, the 26-year old isn’t that great in the air, but uses his body well to hold onto the ball in the attacking third. The Croatian international possesses a decent turn of pace and has the intelligence to make smart runs behind the defenders. Someone who is always looking to get on the ball rather than waiting for it to come to him, he tends to drag his markers out of position, leaving space for teammates to exploit spaces.
The striker also possesses good vision and can play dangerous through balls in behind the defences. A good dribbler at speed, he can be a huge threat on the counters and has the technical ability to hit the ball from distance as well. It is his defensive work-rate that does leave a little to be desired.
What Does The Future Hold?
Both Tottenham and Liverpool are in need of a new striker, no question. But, should they be looking to invest in a striker who couldn’t make much of an impact in the Premier League?
Kramaric has been a prolific goal-scorer throughout his career at all his clubs, except for that one-year lean spell with Leicester and that had a lot to do with the meagre amount of chances he was given by the Foxes. He has bounced back strongly since then with Hoffenheim and has shown that he isn’t a dud by any means. And at 26, he still has his best years ahead of him and can develop into a quality marksman in Europe.
Kramaric has a contract with Hoffenheim until 2020, which does put them in a strong position, but despite his failure at Leicester, the Croatian international has shown he has the calibre to make a difference and if there is interest from either clubs, it should be pursued.