News round-up 5: Transfers and Trophy Ware
As most domestic competitions in Europe wind to a close, it’s a good time to look at the impression that our players have made and what we can expect from the summer transfer window. As if the picture didn’t give you enough of a clue, I’ll definitely give my thoughts on the latest round of speculation surrounding Edin Džeko. While that’s on top of the agenda, however, I’ll also make sure to list the other Bosnian players that I’m hoping will move to bigger clubs by the time qualifiers start up again. More below the fold.
- In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, Edin Džeko has absolutely exploded in the spring half of the Bundesliga season. In fact, he’s even outdone Ibišević’s performance from the fall, netting an astonishing 19 goals in 16 games. He’s currently 5th in the golden shoe tally (just an observation – don’t hold your breath), and just one goal behind Wolfsburg teammate Graffite in the battle for the Bundesliga scoring title. It’s worth noting, however, that while Graffite has scored nearly a third of his 26 goals from the penalty spot, Džeko has made all of his from the field. Together, they’ve pushed historically insignificant Wolfsburg to the very top of the Bundesliga table, needing just a draw at home against Werder to earn the club its first ever title. At the same time, on the top of his fantastic performance against Belgium (2 games, 5 days, 3 goals), Džeko is currently the leading goal-scorer in European qualifiers. In short, for the past 2-3 months, he has been the most in form player in Europe.
Since Felix Magath has admitted that he will be leaving Wolfsburg for Schalke at the end of the season, it’s become increasingly clear that Džeko isn’t particularly interested in staying behind. He recently revealed to the German press that he’s keeping his options open, and Bosnian media claim that his manager has already traveled to London for talks with Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. All three are interested, together with just about every other major club in the world that’s looking for a striker. AC Milan probably has the best chance out of the continental clubs, as not only have they been following Džeko for some time, they are also his favorite club from childhood (or second to Željezničar at least). As much as I don’t like the Serie A, I think Milan would be a great fit; not only is it one of the most famous clubs in the world, but you’d assume that Džeko would almost be guaranteed a starting spot (half of the Rossoneri strike-force is on the verge of retirement). Arsenal seems like the next likeliest candidate, since Mostar-native and trusted Wenger-assistant Boro Primorac has been trackin Džeko since he first arrived in the Bundesliga. Given Džeko’s stated desire to move to the Premiership, I’d even say that a move to the Emirates is the most likely option. With Arsenal, however, much depends on what happens with Adebayor (and maybe even van Persie and Bendtner). Similarly, Chelsea’s interest probably hinges on the possible sale of Drogba. To round out the big four, Liverpool and Manchester United are also both interested, but I don’t see him starting out at either of the two beyond rotation, and Džeko will be looking to move somewhere where he can play right away. Given all of this, I’d give the edge to Milan and Arsenal, with the latter slightly in front. Of course, with so many clubs interested, anything is possible. Anything except Sunderland at least.
- Of course, in highlighting Džeko and Grafite’s contributions to Wolfsburg’s title run, I’ve neglected to mention the remaining member of the Wolves’ trinity: Zvjezdan Misimović. Our offensive mastermind has been pulling the strings from Wolfsburg’s midfield, and has had the best season of his career in the process, tallying somewhere between 19 or 21 assists. The exact number depends on whether you believe Kicker or Sportbild respectively, but both agree on one thing: whatever the figure, Miske has just set the Bundesliga’s single-season assist record. This is a fantastic achievement by any count, and a sure measure that Misimović has entered the prime of his career.
On the verge of turning 27, Misimović has not attracted the same interest from big-name clubs as his teammate and compatriot. The situation with Magath, however, has raised doubts about his future as well. Misimović has brushed off the speculation for the moment, claiming that he hasn’t had any concrete offers, but nonetheless making to sure to leave the door open by noting “Who knows what the summer will bring?” Although his relative lack of speed has always brought his value down, a rumored 8 million Euro release clause in his contract would surely be enough to lure the interest of top clubs from Germany and elsewhere. With the recent soap operas surrounding Diego and Ribéry, two of the Bundesliga’s top clubs may be looking for reinforcements in midfield, and Misimović could well fit the bill. Whether anything will materialize, however, remains to be seen. Bayern is a particularly appealing option, as this will likely be Misimović’s last chance to play in one of Europe’s top clubs. From the sound of it, however, Uli Hoeneß is pretty hostile to the idea, perhaps still smarting from the fact that he gave Zvjezdan away for nothing only a few years ago.
- Unfortunately, two players who probably won’t be moving to any top clubs are Hoffenheim’s Vedad Ibišević and Sejad Salihović. Both are young (24) players who played crucial roles in the village club’s early season fairytale. Unfortunately, after setting the scoring charts ablaze and attracting interest from the likes of Manchester United and Inter Milan, Ibišević suffered a terrible injury in January that he’s only now recovered from. Not surprisingly, Hoffenheim’s form took a nose-dive towards mid-table following this disaster, and Salihović’s stock inevitably dropped after a string of sub-par performances. The future looks bright, with Ibišević back in training and Salihović spearheading recent Hoffenheim victories, but neither of the two will be making the blockbuster moves that some were predicting back in December.
From a Bosnian perspective, however, their performances in the Bundesliga (together with those of Misimović and Džeko) have hardly been in vain. This year has seen a surge in interest for Bosnian players and talents on the part of German clubs, and that can only be a good thing for Bosnian football and the national team. Ermin Zec, one of the Croatian league’s biggest talents, is free from his contract with HNK Šibenik at the end of the season, and had been linked with a free transfer to Schalke even before infamous Bosniophile Magath decided to move to Gelsenkirchen. Lech Poznan maestro Semir Štilić has already been linked with various illustrious German clubs, and he could well make a move over the summer as well. Even a relatively unknown Bosnian-American defensive talent, Nurdin Hrustić, is apparently on the verge of signing with Borussia Dortmund.
- Following our schooling of their national team in Genk and Zenica, a similar situation has developed in Belgium. Defender Safet Nadarević, currently toiling away in the Turkish top-flight, has aroused the interest of Anderlecht, with the Brussels club also casting an eye on captain Emir Spahić. Both of these players are expected to move somewhere during this transfer window, and Anderlecht seems like an attractive destination for someone at Nadarević’s level. The Krajišnik is rumored to be looking for a move to England, however, and more power to him if he manages one. Spahić’s situation is a little different, since he’s actually been without a club since the “messy divorce” with Lokomotiv, but he’s too big a name not to have one by the time we face Armenia and Turkey. His story has been one of the more disappointing ones for Bosnian fans this year, with many hoping that he could still move to a reputable club like PSG or Hamburger SV. As of right now, however, I don’t think anyone outside of Spahić’s closest friends has any idea where he’ll continue his career. But let’s get back to Belgium. Admir Aganović and Sulejman Smajić have had excellent seasons at FCV Dender, and some are saying that they’ll be making a move up sooner rather than later. All in all, it adds up to make for an exciting summer transfer window for fans of Bosnian football.
Another great round up Harun, thank you for writing!
Posted from Netherlands
Thank you for reading. I’m currently in Germany, learning the language, so hopefully I’ll have some more time to update the blog.
Posted from Germany
Are you going to the BiH – Turkey match Harun?
Comments are closed
MORE EUROPE BLOGS
1,026 articles | 12,643 comments
201 articles | 1,850 comments
196 articles | 324 comments
1,035 articles | 5,228 comments
687 articles | 5,278 comments
1,063 articles | 32,761 comments
2,566 articles | 73,525 comments
489 articles | 7,796 comments
562 articles | 10,664 comments
208 articles | 1,511 comments
347 articles | 3,327 comments
227 articles | 386 comments
270 articles | 452 comments
119 articles | 14,873 comments
231 articles | 217 comments
134 articles | 2,134 comments
129 articles | 124 comments
112 articles | 166 comments
16 articles | 8 comments
49 articles | 314 comments
78 articles | 281 comments
111 articles | 122 comments
72 articles | 149 comments
4 articles | 8 comments
49 articles | 59 comments
62 articles | 17 comments
52 articles | 112 comments
33 articles | 28 comments
18 articles | 20 comments
43 articles | 133 comments