Young players often get painted with another professional’s brush early in their career, but in this case you can understand why people are dubbing Dinamo Zagreb starlet Alen Halilovic as the ‘next Luka Modric’.
Being of the same nationality and breakthrough club team helps and in the summer he very nearly followed the direct path of the man he is being tasked with emulating. A deal to sign for Tottenham Hotspur, along with team-mate Tin Jedvaj, was even dubbed concluded by the Dinamo president at one point.
But nothing came of it and Halilovic has remained in Croatia.
That has not stopped the apparent interest in his services however. Halilovic has seen many a team linked with snapping him up recently. Borussia Dortmund were said keen, as were CSKA Moscow; while Bayern Munich had reportedly tied him down to a deal - just to nobody else’s knowledge, player included.
In the Premier League however it was just Tottenham once again, who have now reportedly been joined by North London rivals Arsenal in keeping close tabs on the young Croatian starlet’s progress and position in Zagreb.
So they would have been buoyed by comments yesterday.
There has recently been a trend for young Balkan talent to make the move to Italy. Its close proximity and relatively lax Work Permit regulations have seen Serie A take in the likes of Stevan Jovetic, Matija Nastasic and Adem Ljajic in recent times.
So the news Juventus and Inter Milan wanted him would have certainly worried other interested parties.
Speaking to the Italian press he said:
"I've never been in talks either with Juventus or with Inter. I don't want to say which is my favourite team, in case I'll join another one. I love English and Spanish football, and during last summer I was near to a particular club, and they are still tracking me."
The likelihood is that the ‘particular club’ he is speaking about is Spurs - and his intimation toward English and Spanish football should be met with joy at White Hart Lane.
Other than Barcelona and Real Madrid not many Spanish teams will be able to afford the dynamic starlet and so far neither side has shown any interest in the player - leaving his preferred choice as England.
So come January, expect him to be on the way to London - it just remains a question of where.
image: © jasonparis