Alen Halilovic has been credited with interest from Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and most strongly Tottenham this summer.
This summer Tottenham had reportedly agreed a deal to bring in two of Croatia’s hottest talents in the form of Tin Jedvaj and Alen Halilovic from Dinamo Zagreb for a combined fee of £17.2 million.
In the end that story proved to be premature, or more to the point, false. Jedvaj for instance has now signed for AS Roma while his team-mate is still at Dinamo.
Halilovic has not only been linked with Tottenham. The man dubbed ‘the next Luka Modric’ has been linked with joining him at Real Madrid. Meanwhile Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal have also seen themselves have their names linked with an interest.
It was the Dinamo Zagreb president who claimed Halilovic was on his way to Spurs at the start of July; but so far nothing has come of it.
And it seems it may be having a detrimental effect on his current form.
The 17-year-old talent was hauled off the pitch after 71 minutes of their recent tie with Luxembourg champions Fola Esch; and was jeered by the home fans who were disappointed with his performance.
To make matters worse once he left the field Zagreb improved; scoring five minutes later to win the game 1-0.
The jeering and whistling came after a series of poor performances from the player; who is starting to see the rougher side of football at an early age.
It is not the only time recently he has put in a woeful showing.
Against Zadar, the game previous to Fola Esch, he was again hauled off; this time at half time with the scores at 0-0. Dinamo went on to win 3-0.
Prior to those games he had found himself increasingly on the bench for the club; and has not found the back of the net since the end of 2012.
It has left many Dinamo fans wondering if he is already looking elsewhere with regards to a transfer wish and whether his heart is truly with the club. Others have insisted he is simply being played out of position in a wide-right role. He should instead be playing as a play-maker. Others think he might not be as good as first thought; despite already making his international bow for Croatia.
The Dinamo manager, Kruno Jurcic, says he will stand by his player; saying it is a good learning curve for him to take the lows as well as his highs:
"He needs to get used to the applause, but the whistle as well. Alen is in the process of maturation. He must learn to deal with problems. I'm pushing him into the fire, because I want him to fight and be tempered in such a way,"
Of course it could also simply be that at only 17-years-old, he is going through a blip. The recent developments regarding his future cannot be easy to deal with for a teenager from Dubrovnik only just making his way in the world.
But for the sake of his eventual move to Europe he better hope nobody has cottoned on to his recent poor form; as he may then find himself struggling for a move.
image: © jasonparis