On Transfer Deadline Day this deal probably slipped you by - but as Chelsea snapped up Kurt Zouma and loaned him back to his former club they seemed to do similar with one of Croatia’s hottest young talents in the form of Hajduk Split star Mario Pasalic.
The midfielder, similar to Michael Ballack in playing style, agreed a pre-contract deal for a fee of €2 million which was set to be formalised at the end of the season.
The 18-year-old said of the deal - which was thrashed out with technical director Michael Emenalo:
“I'm glad everything is successfully completed, it is now back to training and the next six months I have to concentrate solely on Hajduk. Nothing else I can say.”
He has bagged 11 goals in 25 games for Hajduk and at the age of 19 is considered one of the top talents to come out of Croatia in recent years - and Chelsea have him.
His most recent game came against RNK Split in the derby game, and there was a very interested bystander in attendance.
Emenalo, the man who brokered the deal, was in the Stadion Poljud to watch him in action - and he would have been impressed.
Pasalic scored in the game, the only goal in a 1-0 win, as calls for him to join the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic on the plane to Brazil this summer continue to gather momentum.
Emenalo told Croatian press of his performance:
“Mario has grown at Hajduk. In the summer he has to go to a club where he will continue to evolve in order to one day play at Stamford Bridge.”
And more details of the deal are now being announced. His agent Ivica Loncar has been speaking about the Chelsea move, and has even revealed when he will have his medical and his hopes of being loaned back to Split next season.
He told 24 Sata:
“Mario would like to stay at Hajduk as long as possible, but the contract is signed and we must respect the desire of the club. There is a chance [he will stay at Hajduk], but they are minimal. Mario will be in London at the end of May for a medical examination and then will know more about his future. Several interested clubs from Italy, Germany and Spain, and it is possible that the first two weeks of preparation activity will be with Chelsea. But the decision is Jose Mourinho’s…”
Pasalic seems likely to head off out on loan next season - with Vitesse an obvious destination - while many other teams will be snooping around the idea of a potential signing.
But wherever he plays next season have no doubt - Chelsea have a hell of a talent on their hands.