Alen Halilovic is only 16 years old but with 8 professional club appearances under his belt, the young Croatian has already caught the attention of some of the biggest clubs in Europe. This week The Mirror say that the Premier League champions, Manchester City, are pursuing Halilovic but may have to fork out £7million for the youngster.
Halilovic has only started one game in the Prva NHL (Croatian top division) for Dinamo Zagreb so far this season but, coming on as a substitute, has managed to score two goals from midfield in a mere 107 minutes of playing time. Dinamo Zagreb have been the undisputed whipping boys of Group A in the Champions League, collecting a total of 0 points from 5 games. Be that as it may, it makes it no less impressive that Halilovic has come on as a substitute in 3 of those games and got his first taste of top-flight European football at such a young age.
£7million does seem like a somewhat ridiculous fee for a player who has played so little professional football and still has many years of development left to reach his full potential. Nevertheless, with the seemingly unstoppable inflation of transfer fees and the continued spending of super-rich club owners, young players like Halilovic may have absurdly high transfer fees thrust upon them (whether they like it or not).
Dinamo Zagreb’s owners will no doubt be eager to cash in on the teenager who is showing so much promise but this may not supply the best outcome for Halilovic. If Zagreb push the player’s transfer fee too high then other managers may be put off and choose not to go for the player who is already a risky buy due to his age and lack of first team football.
From what I’ve seen of the Croatian, I have no doubt that one day he can be a world-beating footballer. However, no top class footballer has reached the top without the help of great coaches and playing with and against other world-class players. Whilst doing my best not to offend Croatian football, I must say that Halilovic may not find all he needs to achieve his full potential in the Prva NHL.
I would absolutely love to see a player with Halilovic’s enthusiasm and potential play in the Premier League but while his transfer fee stands so high, I doubt we are likely to see that happen.