Expert - Tottenham interest has caused £17m star's performances to drop

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Tottenham Hotspur target Alen Halilovic's star has waned slightly over the season so far.

Alen Halilovic is a player who appears to have the world at his feet. The Croatian prospect has been dubbed 'The next Luka Modric' in his homeland, due to a similar playing style and physical appearance.

Tottenham Hotspur were strongly linked with a move for the Dinamo Zagreb ace in the summer, even confirmed by the club president, but a deal was not struck.

Bayern Munich and Arsenal were also both linked with the player's signature, who made his full international debut in June at just 16-years-old.

Now 17, he still remains at Dinamo Zagreb but the season has seen a dip in his performances so far.

European football expert Jonathan Wilson told SkySports: "I think he is enormously talented as a No.10 and can play wide drifting in, but I think he's gone off the boil a bit in the last year. I think they've overused him and overindulged him. It's difficult when you're in a league and the quality isn't so high. The temptation is to play the kid over and over again and he's ended up looking jaded.

"He's been linked with Tottenham so perhaps that got to him, I don't know. But the other problem is that he regularly tries to do too much. He tries to beat three men rather than play the pass. He really hasn't matured yet and could probably do with waiting a year, playing less and taking time to think about the game."

Halilovic is intriguingly listed as having his contract expiring in June, but regulations in his country mean as he is under 23, he cannot sign a pre-contract agreement with another club. It's likely Dinamo are already working on tying him down to an extension.

The assertion Halilovic has had a difficult season so far is backed up by the statistics. In 12 games in the Croatian Premier League, and five Europa League games, he has not registered a single goal or assist.

Last season he bagged two goals for the club and provided one assist and it was hoped he would build on that promise and kick on, but it has been the opposite.

The point raised about Tottenham's interest causing his form to dip is fascinating, because so often we see young players who are hyped early and fail to deliver.

If he is unable to deal with the expectation lumped upon him at this stage, it's likely he would have struggled at White Hart Lane this season too.

image: © jasonparis

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