Introducing Chelsea & Juventus transfer target Kramaric

Posted by SEMARANG HITAM PUTIH on 21.39
Croatian striker Kramaric has been in the transfer news headlines. Many top clubs are pursuing him, including Juventus and Chelsea. The excellent Charles Ducksbury profiles him for, but before we get to Kramaric, here is some information on the author:

Charles is a world football writer and pundit based in Yorkshire, England. He writes for FourFourTwo, The Daily Mirror, CNN, Bleacher Report, When Saturday Comes, Squawka and more.
Six months ago, Andrej Kramarić was just another promising striker, a name that certainly would be in many scouts notebook but was yet to really make people sit up and take notice. Fast forward to December and we are talking about possibly Europe’s most in-demand forward, with clubs from Italy and England chasing the Croatian in the hope to bring him to their clubs in the January market.

As a youngster, Kramarić was (and still is) Dinamo Zagreb’s top youth goalscorer in their history, and his professional career in the famous blue saw him net ten goals in 42 games, as well as 20 in 45 games during a loan spell at Lokomotiva, Dinamo’s feeder club who also play in 1.HNL, Croatia’s top division. He also has 45 caps at youth level, scoring an impressive 22 goals, clearly proving himself to be an accomplished striker. But it was after returning to Dinamo that he fell-out with the club over his lack of playing time despite such an impressive goal haul. The Zagreb-born forward departed, joining Rijeka and the project fronted by oil-rich Italian Gabriele Volpi, who also owns Serie B club Spezia. Since then thre 23-year-old Kramarić hasn’t looked back, turning Rijeka into genuine title contenders and helping the coastal side to only their third Croatian Cup, beating Dinamo in the two-legged final 3-0 last season. He has also made the breakthrough with the national team, and already has two goals from his four caps. He did appear as a substitute at San Siro against Italy in November, though had a subdued game after Croatian supporters interrupted the game in protest at the Croatian

This season has seen the young Croatian go from a forward with potential to a genuine force. He really announced himself this season in the Adriatic Derby between Rijeka and Hajduk. The Split side have been chasing Dinamo for years on the field, but in late July, on a sticky evening at Kantrida, Rijeka firmly asserted themselves as Croatia’s second force, thanks to Kramarić’s devastating display of his technical ability and lethal finishing as he netted a first half hat-trick as Rijeka won 4-2. His first was a shot from a standing start, his second a powerful header into the corner from the penalty spot, and his hat-trick goal was a superb lob from inside the penalty area that went in via the cross bar. His record so far is 28 goals in 28 games, a quite remarkable record even considering the relative strength of 1.HNL, though his record in Europa League against superior opponents is where he has caught the eye in recent weeks. His record of seven goals in 11 games is impressive, and of those his 13 minute hat-trick against Feyenoord stood out, displaying excellent composure and improvisation in leading the Croatians to victory.

It would perhaps be unfair to label Kramarić as a ‘penalty-box’ striker, but it must be said that is where he does his best work. Often the instigator of moves before finishing them, his speciality is making darting runs into the area away from his marker. His control of the ball is exemplary, and the ease in which he often escapes defenders is that of an instinctive attacker. What else is beautiful about Kramarić’s ability is the way he scores his goals. Though not the rule, he so often finds the corner of the net with his shots, and often uses the technique of simply passing the ball into the net. Though there have been examples of him using force with his shots – Lokomotiva at home, a game in which he netted five, he tends to show composure when finishing, something that appeals when top sides are looking for strikers to handle big occasions.