Croatian Sandro replacement on the radar

Our obsession with Croatian midfielders doesn't seem to end with news that we are making enquiries about another one.

Croatian Sandro replacement on the radar

Milan Badelj played at the 2014 World Cup which saw Croatia finish third in Group A behind hosts Brazil and central American side Mexico. He also went to the European Championships in 2012. Spurs have approached the Hamburg defensive midfielder about a potential move, as have Chelsea.

The highly-rated 25 year-old earned 66 youth caps before breaking into the National side, for whom he has 9 caps. He has some winning experience under his belt having won 4 titles for his previous club Dinamo Zagreb.

Naturally as he was developing he was dubbed the new Luka Modrić but he is more in the mold of another former Croatian great Zvonimir Boban who spent most of his career at Italian giants AC Milan.

He began his career with youth side NK Ponikve aged just six before moving on to NK Zagreb, then Dinamo Zagreb before Bundesliga side Hamburg.

Immediately after joining Dinamo, Badelj was sent on a season-long loan to their satellite side Lokomotiva. He impressed everyone there with his seven goals in 28 games.

When returning he soon became a regular at Dinamo Zagreb and was even given the captaincy. A host of clubs came calling for him in 2011 but it wasn't until the following year he left in August for a fee reported in the Croatian media as £2.79 million (€3.5m).

He is an excellent passer of the ball and has great vision, long or short passes come alike to him, both are accurate. he was successful with 135 out of his 187 long passes. He has no major weaknesses, is excellent at intercepting the ball and is a strong, dribbler and tackler.

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His concentration is another strength, he only picked up five yellow cards last season which for a man who has a tackling role and a protector of the centre-halves is not many. That suggests his decision making is good and he doesn't make rash challenges. When taking on a player he beat them 77% of the time from and created 22 chances for his teammates.

He had 1,181 successful passes out of 1,454 attempts for a success rate of 81.2%, the average distance being 19m. He won 37 of his 76 aerial duels, made 104 tackles, intercepted a pass 85 times and committed 46 fouls. He cleared the ball 57 times, blocked 12 shots and made 1 defensive error.

As you have probably already guessed his contract is up next summer so he either signs a new contract or Hamburg will have to sell, few clubs like to let younger players leave of a free transfer.

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