The New York Cosmos are hosting a familiar face to Premier League fans during their first week of preseason training, having welcomed former Tottenham Hotspur and Queens Park Rangers midfielder Niko Kranjcar to the Mitchel Athletic Complex.
The 31-year-old Croatian is currently a free agent after being released by Dynamo Kyiv last month and was invited to train in the States after expressing his desire to keep up his fitness levels in a professional environment.
It remains to be seen whether his stint with the NASL club is with a view to a permanent move, but the 81-times capped World Cup veteran is at least hoping to feature in some of their preseason friendlies over the coming weeks.
“Training with the New York Cosmos allows me to focus on getting back to fitness and potentially get some competitive game time during preseason,” Kranjcar told the club’s official website. “New York is a great place, so the opportunity to focus on my football and experience this city is one that suits me perfectly right now.”
Cosmos head coach and sporting director Giovanni Savarese added: “Niko is looking to maintain his fitness. We saw it as the perfect opportunity to invite him to train with us during the preseason.
“We are looking forward to having his quality in training for the next few weeks.”
Kranjcar, who began his professional career with hometown club Dinamo Zagreb, first moved to England in 2006 to join Portsmouth from Hajduk Split and went on to feature 98 times for the then-Premier League club, scoring 12 goals and winning the FA Cup in 2008.
Ex-Pompey manager Harry Redknapp later brought the mercurial playmaker to Tottenham Hotspur in 2009, where he appeared in 71 matches through three seasons, recording 11 goals and eight assists.
He eventually left Spurs to join Kyiv in June 2012 but returned to England only 15 months to link up with Redknapp for a third time at Queens Park Rangers for successive season-long loan spells.
Now trying to get his career back on track after being released by Kyiv, it would certainly not be a surprise if he followed Juan Arango in becoming the Cosmos' latest big-name signing of the offseason as the club look to replace retired duo Raul and Marcos Senna.