The latest Croat star to be linked with a move to the Premier League is 22-year-old NK Rijeka midfield star Anas Sharbini. Celtic reportedly made a tentative enquiry in January month but Liverpool and Aston Villa are strongly linked in the Croatian press. The player should also be available at a knock-down £3m as his contract expires at the end of the 2009/10 season.
Sharbini’s talent was brought to public attention last season after a superb campaign in which the attacking midfielder scored 11 goals in 28 League appearances (27 starts). This superb form led to a call up to the Croatian national squad as a reserve in case of injuries for Euro 2008. He’s yet to play for his country at full international level but recently earned a call-up after impressing in the U21 side.
The young star has enjoyed another excellent season this time out with 12 League goals in 24 League appearances but is reported to be desperate to leave the club. Sharbini’s goal tally is only bettered by 4 other players this season. Dinamo Zagreb are said to be keen but offers from the Bundesliga, Premier League and the SPL may sway a summer move with the player available for nothing at the end of next season.
Sharbini is a technically gifted, quick, two-footed playmaker and could prove a bargain buy for a number of clubs needing to add creativity to their ranks for a knock-down price. Rafa Benitez is looking to strengthen his midfield options and the fact the youngster can also play in Steven Gerrard’s 2nd striker position is an added bonus. Then there’s Villa who are looking to build on their performance this season as well as provide a replacement for the likely departure of Gareth Barry.
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The Croatian star’s father was born in Damascus but moved to Rijeka in the 1980′s, therefore Sharbini could have opted for Syria at international level but instead chose the country of his and his mother’s birth. At 5 ft 11 he is not as lightweight as Luka Modric so may settle quicker in terms of the physical nature of British football. He is also renowned for his set-piece capabilities and has been tagged the ‘new Boban’ by the Croatian press which is high praise indeed.
Do you like the look of Sharbini, would he be worth a gamble at such a low price? Does your team need a midfield schemer this January? Let’s hear your views.
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