Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic, who was a summer transfer target for Tottenham, has revealed how Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped him decide on his future.
The 21-year-old stayed put in Serie A this summer, despite strong interest from Spurs and transfer chief Fabio Paratici. Boss Nuno Espirito Santo reportedly wanted to find a strike partner for Harry Kane, but could not do so.
As a result, Vlahovic is reportedly in line for a new contract. Still, his current deal runs out in the summer of 2023 so there is time to find an agreement.
Speaking to DAZN, the Serbia international revealed he sees himself scoring many more goals and assists at Fiorentina.
“I always speak sincerely,” he said. “I think that those who came from the Balkans are doing things more with the heart than the brain.
“I felt like staying, I think I can grow further here. I will score many goals and assists, the rest will come when it comes.
“There may be many risks, but without the risks, it’s not worth living. [Francesco] Totti comes to mind, against Holland, when he scored the Panenka.”
Furthermore, Vlahovic has revealed how he felt inspired to stay at Fiorentina following a meeting with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The 39-year-old starred with a goal in AC Milan’s 3-2 win over La Viola in March.
“My family first, then if we talk about players, I certainly liked Ibra more for his character and the desire to never give up,” Vlahovic added.
“He never allowed anyone to command him, then the monstrous plays…. Let’s leave it. When we lost 3-2 in Florence, I took the advantage of the fact that he might not be very angry and asked him for the shirt.
“He signed it for me, we took a photo and wrote the dedication in our language. He told me to continue and never give up. I’m not very good at speaking when I meet an idol.”
Vlahovic, who has 10 caps for Serbia, is also happy to have international colleagues with him at club level.
Vlahovic thankful for Serbia connections
“My best friends are [Nikola] Milenkovic and [Aleksa] Terzic, who joined the national team,” he said.
“A wonderful group has been created. I’m doing great in Florence, I arrived when I was very young, it’s my second home.”
Vlahovic, who notched 21 goals in 37 Serie A games last season, has started this term in similar fashion.
He has scored three goals in four outings, including a brace against Atalanta.
Spurs, meanwhile, go into Sunday’s north London derby against Arsenal following no wins in three games.