FC Barcelona’s latest signing, 17-year-old Croatian midfielder Alen Halilovic, has marked his move to the Catalan Giants as something “special”.
Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb has some of the most talented youngsters in Europe in their squad presently. Alen Halilovic is widely considered to be the best Croatian talent to have emerged in recent times and has been scouted by a lot of clubs across Europe. Real Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City were all been linked with Halilovic, but Barcelona snapped him earlier this month with Gerardo Martino confirmed that he will playing with the Barcelona B team.
Spurs were initially considered as the favourites to land the 17-year-old in summer. Reports from Croatia suggested that Tottenham were close to signing both Alen Halilovic and Tin Jedvaj. The transfer fee involved in this deal was expected to be around £15million, along with some add-ons and performance bonuses. But the deal fell off at the last moment and there are contradicting reports about the reason behind Spurs’ failure to land the talented duo.
Alen Haliliovic came under the spot light at a very young age. Halilovic is also the son of a former footballer, Sejad Haliliovic – who has played international football for both Croatia and Bosnia, and has played in the La Liga for Real Vallodolid. The 17-year-old became the youngest (he was 16 then) player to play in the Croatian league when he made his debut in the Eternal derby against Hajduk Split. He is also became the youngest goal scorer in the league, when he found the back of the net against Slaven Belupo. During Zagreb’s match against PSG in the group stages of the Champions League, he also became the second youngest player in the history of the competition. These are quite impressive achievements for the youngster, who only signed his first professional contract back in 2012. Incredibly, Halilovic has also made his debut for the Croatian senior national team in a friendly against Portugal this year.
Arsenal were also been previously linked with him, with Arsene Wenger believed to be highly impressed with his development. But Barcelona gazumped both Tottenham and Arsenal with their move and the youngster has now expressed his delight at having joined the club of this stature in his first interview to the Catalan giant’s official website.
“I’m delighted and it’s difficult to find the words to describe how I feel.
“Many thanks to Dinamo, who will always remain my first love and the club who made my dreams come true.
“Of course, Barcelona is something special, I’ve loved the club since I was small and I feel honoured to have the opportunity to play for Barca.
“Before everything, I want to win the double with Dinamo and then focus on my new club.” – Alen Halilovic said.