Chelsea's Croatian wonderkid set for Italian loan deal

SS Lazio fans

Mario Pasalic looks set to head to Italy on loan next season with Lazio tipped as the favourites.

Chelsea agreed a pre-contract deal with talented Croatian teenager Mario Pasalic on transfer deadline day in January. It was a deal that slipped many by and it was only when his medical was confirmed last month that it became clear this wonderkid was on his way to The Bridge.

The midfielder, who has been compared to Chelsea heroes Michael Ballack and Frank Lampard in playing style, will formally arrive at the club later this month, complete a medical, and in his immediate future it looks like he will be playing elsewhere on loan.

The man who brokered the deal, Michael Emenalo, has stated as much this week:

"Mario has outgrown Hajduk and in the summer he has to move to a bigger club. That is the only way for him to one day play at Stamford Bridge."

And plenty of teams will be looking to take him on board, with good reason.

Pasalic has scored 11 goals in 28 league appearances this season in what has been a disappointing campaign for Hajduk, currently in third place and a whopping 22 points behind league leaders and fierce rivals Dinamo Zagreb.

So where does he go?

With Chelsea’s affiliation with Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem said to be in jeopardy that is no longer the obvious choice. Instead he looks set to head off to where so many top Croatian talents have started their careers ... Italy.

Croatian source 24sata believe that Pasalic, who has also been linked with a move to Germany, is in the crosshairs of Lazio - a team linked with signing him permanently before Chelsea tied up a deal.

His agent Ivica Loncar then went on to suggest his next move will be decided after Niko Kovac names his Croatia squad for the World Cup - of which many are calling for Pasalic to receive a call-up.

Pasalic was said to be keen on remaining at Hajduk but with his talent and at 19-years-old he is ready for a step up in class.

Lazio could offer him just that.

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