Photo: Dynamo Kiev
Niko Kranjčar wanted out of Tottenham Hotspur. The 28 year-old Croatian midfielder rode the bench in North London the majority of the time during the tail end of his 3-year career with the club. His wish finally came true this past summer when Spurs sold him to Ukrainian club Dynamo Kiev for £5.5million, locking in a 4-year contract.
From London to Kiev, not much has changed.
Kranjčar was supposed to be a missing puzzle piece in Dynamo’s arsenal to battle rivals Shakhtar Donetsk for the Ukrainan Premier League title, while adding support during the grueling Champions League campaign. It’s not showing.
In Dynamo’s last 10 matches, Kranjčar has only played a total of 289 minutes (28.9 mins/game), starting four matches along the way. His skills are not being implemented by manager Oleg Blokhin in the first team for a club underachieving at the moment. Dynamo Kiev currently sit 14 points behind a perfect Shakhtar Donetsk and are battling Dnipro for Ukraine’s last Champions League berth. Dynamo look to be Europa League bound after the new year, picking up four points in the Champions League group stage thus far with a win over Dinamo Zagreb and a draw vs. FC Porto.
Kranjčar has scored four times for Dynamo this season and has found the back of the net 15 times for Croatia in 75 appearances since 2004. He has already lost his midfield spot with the Vatreni to 23 tear-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ivan Perišić, but at this pace, will we ever see Kranjčar play for Croatia again?
He is slowly entering the twilight of his career, already playing for Dinamo Zagreb, Hajduk Split, Tottenham Hotspur, Dynamo Kiev and Portsmouth FC, where he won the FA Cup.
Can we kick Kranjčar to the curb or is there hope for him yet?