Premier League

Another Croatian? Yes Please, H!

It’s summer, the World Cup is finally over, and the dull hangover has begun. Nonetheless, the new Premier League season is already looming over us like a grey, gloomy cloud of crippling despair…or a beautiful, joyous rainbow if you’re after a happier analogy (depends what mood you’re in really).

So, let’s force a smile and take a gander at some – or, more precisely, one – of summer’s most wanted; Anas Sharbini.

You may well be thinking ‘who the hell is Anas Sharbini’, or, of course, you may not. Well, either way, Anas is actually a highly-rated Croatian midfielder and considered one of his nation’s best young players. He’s been touted as an emerging talent for many years, firmly thrust into the ‘one to watch’ bracket. Now 23-years-old, and currently at Hajduk Split, he’ll be looking to advance from prospective star to an established, rounded and renowned player.

Rising through the ranks at HNK Rijeka, he quickly caught the eye as an attacking midfielder of creativity and technical dexterity; and yet another along the Croatian conveyor belt of similarly styled attacking talent. Making his debut in 2005, his real first-team breakthrough came a few years later when he established himself as a valuable and productive asset.

Certainly, scoring 11 goals in 28 games during the 2007/08 season marked Sharbini out as a player of notable attacking proficiency and he continued to prosper the following year. Thus, he reportedly attracted the attention of a number of Premier League sides, but eventually joined Hajduk Split in 2009.

In the Prva HNL (Croatian top division) Sharbini is distinguished for bursting forward from midfield and possessing the adept goal scoring ability of ‘popping up’ in the right place at the right time (as the old motto goes). In addition to this thrusting forward spirit, he is also a very technically gifted and creative player, adept at playing just behind the striker or as a creative midfield force and is notably comfortable with both feet. Nonetheless, he is not the sturdiest of frames and has, in the past, demonstrated a habit of picking up numerous yellow coloured cards.

Despite his successful progression through each of the national youth teams, his full international career has been stinted thus far; largely due to the array of Croatian talent in the slightly similar ‘attacking playmaker’ vein.

Speaking of Luka Modric (which, you know, we weren’t, but it was implicit, so this seamless synthesis is allowed) Tottenham can be highlighted as a possible destination. Having been acutely linked with a transfer to Liverpool and Aston Villa in the past, it is thought he will likely be Premier League bound at some stage of his career and, given the growing contingent of Croatians (three fellow countrymen currently at White Hart Lane), Spurs would be a fitting home for the promising playmaker. Certainly he could offer a useful squad asset ahead of a multifaceted European and domestic campaign, if not a regular first-team option quite yet.

Anyway, there we have it, one of summer’s most wanted; Hajduk Split’s number 99 – no reflection on his ability, just the ‘crazy, crazy’ fun that can be had with the numbering system – the young, ‘new Boban’ pigeonholed, Anas Sharbini.

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