According to several web-pages and news sources from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, it seems Arsenal are one of the clubs interested in 16-years-old Dinamo Zagreb starlet Alen Halilović.
Halilović made his debut in the Champions League last night in Dinamo Zagreb’s defeat to PSG (0-2) and became the youngest goalscorer in the history of Croatian Football League two weeks ago. He is an attacking midfielder with an exceptional left foot and his cold finishing against Slaven Belupo made some journalists draw unnecessary comparison with Leo Messi.
Although he is only 16, he has already been drawn into a couple of complicated situations. First, his father Sejad Halilović who works for Dinamo Youth Academy got suspended by Dinamo because he refused to talk with Dinamo’s leading man Zdravko Mamić about a youth contract for his son. The Whole story ended in June 2012 when Halilović signed a professional contract with Dinamo. The second complicated story is yet to come.
Aforementioned Sejad Halilović is an ex-international player of two countries – he played for Croatia before Bosnia and Herzegovina was accepted as member of FIFA and UEFA. Halilović probably realized he wouldn’t get much playing time with the likes of Prosinečki, Boban and Asanović playing in the Croatian midfield so he opted to play for Bosnia instead.
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Now, there is a big pressure from both FAs on Halilović Jr to make a choice which country he is going to represent in the future. Currently, Halilović plays for the Croatian U17 team but he already got call up from Bosnian U21 team while Safet Sušić said that he would give Halilović a call up for the senior team in spring 2013.
Some journalists that don’t want to jump on the Halilović-is-the-new-Messi-bandwagon claim that he is still learning football (which is logical, he is only 16 – our Gnabry is one year older but same thing can be said about him too) and that he lacks defensive discipline. There are numerous examples of players going to big European clubs while they were too young which had devastating consequences for their development and Halilović could be one of them despite the fact he seems to have huge talent.
We all know how Wenger likes to sign young players and Dinamo Zagreb sold a lot of players in previous seasons to the best European leagues: we have signed Eduardo, Spuds signed Modrić, Manchester City signed Ćorluka, Wolfsburg signed Mandžukić, Lyon signed Lovren… We were also linked with a couple of Dinamo talents – Šime Vrsaljko (right-back, suffering from stagnation since 2010) and Mateo Kovačić (attacking midfielder that is still waiting for his first goal this season).
However, there are no rules when it comes to Dinamo talents – some of them are good, some of them fail in adaption. One of the main reasons for that is the fact the Croatian National League is very weak. Dinamo has won it seven times in a row and it seems they will take it again. In most cases they win it with double-digit point margins.
Despite domestic domination, Dinamo has failed to record a single point in 9 consecutive matches in the Champions’ League and it is going to be even worse since they have visits to Paris and Porto. Zdravko Mamić often acts like a clown but he is actually very good at selling his goods. That means Halilović might be an excellent prospect for the future but there are chances that the kid will burn out in desire to match everyone’s expectations.
Feel free to comment below on Halilović or in his thread in the allArsenal forum.