Late in June of 2013, Dinamo Zagreb president Mirko Barisic admitted that a deal had been agreed to sell highly rated young centre-back Tin Jedvaj.
Speculation was rife that Tottenham Hotspur were the victors in the sweepstakes for the then-17-year-old’s services, although Barisic refused to confirm when asked directly.
Spurs were thought to be hot on trail for the Croatian and the Dinamo chief’s statement seemed to suggest that they had indeed tied up a deal for him.
If Jedvaj had plans of following in the footsteps of predecessor Marquinhos at the Stadio Olimpico, however, he was sorely disappointed with how things went in his first season.
The Croatia international played just 97 minutes of football as Mehdi Benatia and Leandro Castan starred in central defence, with the Giallorossi finishing second in the league.
Jedvaj maintained that he would carry on in the Italian capital only for Roma to bring in three centre-backs over the summer as he was shipped out on loan to Bayer Leverkusen.
While life was difficult in the peninsula, Jedvaj has thrived in Germany. He’s been a nailed-on starter for the Bundesliga outfit, in superb form in the opening stage of the season.
So impressive has he been that Bayer are already said to want to purchase him outright just months into his two-year loan spell in Leverkusen, with the player equally keen to remain there.
And Roma, according to Il Messaggero, are happy to sell – should the BayArena side be willing to part with €10 million in January to take full control of Jedvaj’s rights.
It’s an interesting turn in the tale for the young Croatian. Now 18, he has shown himself to be quite capable despite his age in Germany when given a chance to play at a high level.
His lack of action at Roma seemed to suggest that missing out on him wasn’t a significant blow for Spurs, as he wasn’t yet ready to contribute regularly in a top European league.
Yet Jedvaj has gone a long way to dispel that notion of late. Roma have other needs at the moment and would happily take €10 million for him, but he clearly always had the talent to succeed.
Young players often just need to be in the right place to flourish. Jedvaj likely thought last summer he’d have more opportunities at Roma than Spurs, so chose the former.
But it didn’t work out with the Giallorossi and he’s found a home at Bayer Leverkusen, who by all indications will look to keep him there for years to come as he continues to develop.