In our new Scout feature, Daniel Roberts takes a detailed look into a new emerging talent from the world of football after scouring the European and British talent pool. First up, we take a look at Dinamo Zagreb’s attacking midfielder Ante Coric.
Born in April 1997, the 18-year-old Croatian started his footballing story at five, representing both Hrvatski Dragovoljac and NK Zagreb youth teams.
During this time, Ante started to attract the attention of a number of European footballing giants, including Barcelona, Chelsea and Bayern Munich where he undertook successful trials, but took the short trip over to Austria to join Red Bull Salzburg in 2009.
After four years, he returned to Croatia to join his current club Dinamo Zagreb in a €900,000 transfer.
Billed as an attacking midfielder, Coric is everything a manager wants in that position. Sleek and stylish, his technical skills make him glide past the opposition and he compliments his dribbling skill with flair and vision to feed his team’s attacking options.
Assists, however, are not his only contribution, with the young Croatian a goal threat in his own right. He is currently the fourth youngest goalscorer in Europa League history, as his 92nd-minute strike against Astra Giurgiu at the age of 17 years and 157 days sealed a 5-1 victory for Dinamo in September 2014.
Often compared to Croatian stars such as Matteo Kovacic, Alen Halilovic and Luka Modric, Ante is certainly not out of his depth.
After representing his national side from the Under-15s up to, currently, the Under-21s, it won’t be too long before he is fighting for a spot in the full Croatian side.
What the experts say
Zoran Mamic, Dinamo Zagreb manager: “Ante is a treasure for our club. He is a greater talent than Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic were at his age.”
Romeo Jozak, Dinamo youth academy director: “[He] is a very talented, offensive-minded midfield player who at the same time respects the collective. Ante Coric not only has prospects for Dinamo, but also for the Croatian national team.”
Goncalo Santos, Dinamo Zagreb midfielder: “He is a great technician and has a good chance. He needs to grow and learn more, but he is very good player.”
Where his future lies
Currently, it certainly seems his days at Dinamo are coming to an end after a recent spat with manager Zoran Mamic.
After Coric announced his disharmony with the Croatian side, claiming he had received offers from more reputable clubs, Mamic responded to press speculation linking him to Portugal, saying: “If Porto send an offer that satisfies us, the option of selling is not impossible.”
Although Porto are highly tipped to prise the youngster away for €10million by Portuguese press, Bayern Munich and Manchester City are still possible destinations, with sources close to Coric claiming a deal to the latter may happen. Chelsea and Barcelona may also still be a possible destination for the Croatian after their previous interest.
In a bid to steal a star from the footballing giants, Everton were also linked with his signature in the summer, although if he is to ply his trade on Merseyside, Liverpool could be a more likely destination, with Jurgen Klopp’s interest in the youngster lasting from his Borussia Dortmund days.
By Daniel Roberts, @djroberts22
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