There comes a time in every young man’s life to grow up and leave the comforts of home to make something of his life; to be pushed out of the nest and learn to fly.
Some players in their early 20’s out grow the space they play in in Croatia. The HNL has done its duty; groomed them as professionals, paid them (sometimes), gave them a sense of competitiveness, but the right of passage has taken its course and must inevitably end.
Andrej Kramarić has been making headlines all season with his outstanding, and frankly a little surprising, performance at HNK Rijeka. The attention he has garnished acts like his diploma given when graduating high school. It is now time to pick his next step.
“This is the hardest decision in my life,” the young striker said in an interview yesterday. “I have had a few sleepless nights lately.”
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that it’s only a matter of time before he officially moves on, but it was reported only today that his current club Rijeka has resigned him for two more years, benefiting them only in that he will not leave for free and any other club will have to pay a price if they want him.
Several clubs across Europe have shown interest in Kramarić including Athletico Madrid and the Croatian-loving Tottenham Hotspur. But where would he best fit in?
National team coach Niko Kovac told Kramarić several weeks ago to make sure he goes where he wants to play and not where he will make the most money. We all know that in the money-driven industry the sport is, and of course a paycheck is on his mind, but it is crucial he receives a proper amount of playing time and development if he wants to reach his full potential.
Despite the falling out of Niko Kranjcar at Tottenham, Spurs may be a good fit for Kramarić. They are currently in seventh place, but still have the top four spots in their sights. Consistent Champions League play will definitely be a huge draw for Kramarić to want to head to north London.
They are also currently led by a few lack luster strikers. Emanuel Adebayor has been rumored to be on his way out, leaving only Soldado, who has scored only one goal since March, and Paulhino who has been even less impressive, to head their offense.
The starting striker position is just waiting for Kramarić to fill it.
An easier transition for Kramarić has also been suggested in the form of Seri A.
Clubs such as Genoa or Verona would be a good fit for him, keeping him a consistent starter and groom him more as a leader than he would be at a much larger club.
He could also lead those teams into consistent Europa League contention, giving him the European experience he desires and allowing him to run deeper in the tournament than he would with Rijeka.
But then there’s Spain.
Kramarić has recently expressed his interest in playing in Spain, claiming that “their football is the style that suits me.”
He has since brushed off interest from Tottenham and fellow London club, Chelsea, but has not made an official statement of what Spanish club he would like to join.
“I expect the decision to be tough, but sitting on the bench is not my aim. I want to ensure that I will play,” Kramarić said yesterday.
If playing time is his priority, he needs to find a team that allow him to flourish.
Rijeka recently rejected a 10 million euro bid for Krama from Leicester City, which would have made him the fourth highest transfer in HNL history.
“My departure is approaching. I am aware of what I am looking for in clubs and I am aware of the competition ahead of me in the future. I will weigh all offers and decide how to proceed,” Kramarić said.
@Hrvatski Skip Bayless
Don’t talk about Rijeka legend “Super” Bosko Balaban like that.
That’s true, I’m writing from the perspective of a fan that wants a prospective high quality national team player to succeed at club level and be able to contribute to the cause.
No matter what he decides, I wish him the best of luck.
Easy to say he should ignore the paycheck when its not you refusing the money.
There is nothing wrong with going to the contract that offers the most gaurenteed money. There is no sure thing he will make it at any place he goes. That is why he owes it to himself to secure the most money possible. Soccer players – if they are really good – have a ten year window to make as much money as they can.
I have no idea what his offers are, but if one club is offering 40% more, that is tough to turn down. There are many unknowns: what if he blows a knee, what if he is a bust, what if he goes the route of Lovren and engages in questionable activity, so many unknowns. What is known is signing a guaranteed deal.
He should go to a mid table club in one of the top leagues in order to prove he has what it takes to play at the highest level. I am not convinced of his class, still. He strikes me as slow. Meaning, he isn’t fast at running with or without the play and when he has the ball at his feet he cannot easily keep possession and create space with technical trickery. Maybe I’m wrong, I hope I am.
Kramaric should ignore the paycheck for a more playing time but then again I do not know how well off his family is. Chelsea = he won’t play much, likely loaned out. Serie A would be a good starting point, Barca/Real NO because they will not pay his and Rijeka’s demands and I’m not sure how much he will play, Atletico makes most sense IF he really wants to play in Spain, Borussia Dortmund isn’t doing well NOW but hopefully they can pull through. Where do you guys think he should go? By the way I think you guys are doing a fantastic job with the site and are helping Croatian diaspora by giving them a place to connect and voice there opinions. Ignore all the haters, they still come back to post their comments so that tells you something. Cheers from Toronto, Canada. Za dom!
Andrej Kramaric will most likely be a bust like Bosko Balaban and Nikola Kalinic.
Za Basement Spremini is up for line of the year!
Spurs are wack!
Lmao . MANdzukic just puts the ball in the back of the net. Always has and always will. Why some Za Basement Spremni Hrvati here bet against him and disparage his valued skill set is beyond me?
He is a beast who transforms his talent into a goal scoring power house.
Hrvat who performs at his best.
A simple Hvala would suffice once in a while.
You failed to mention Spurs two best players, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane.
Not a Spurs fan but Kramaric with those two would look pretty good.
just when you thought the god of laknat was dead he comes up with another weird ass asian cartoon thing
Things might have changed now that Cro is part of the EU.
I recall a while back Lovren couldn’t get sold to an English team when teams were interested as he didn’t have enough caps for Cro yet to qualify for a work permit. This was a couple of years before Cro was an EU nation though.
take a look this awesome player !!
Would Kramaric qualify for a permit to play in England. I’m not so sure he would. I know they do make exceptions every now and then.
I hope Mancini sticks around for a bit. He sure is giving Kova the Supernova a shot at the trequartista role. It’s about time we had a Hrvat starting in the “hole” for a high profile team.
I hope they start doing better with Mancini at the helm.
It doesn’t look like they are making next seasons Champion’s League
Guarin may have plateaued a bit and Ranocchia is overrated, but they are still decent players.
But I sure as hell don’t think that paying 19 MILLION Euro for Ranocchia was worth the money. They could have done a LOT more than getting an above average CB who still can’t even crack the Italian National Team roster.
Handanovic, Kovacic and Icardi are classy players.
They have a couple other solid players too.
That Spurs ship has sailed. Redknapp had something special there for a few seasons.
I still have a soft spot for Spurs. They were so fun to watch from 2010-2012. Loved watching them on a weekly basis. The team has fallen off to an extent. That back four is so shaky from Fazio to Kaboul. You brought up the striker issues up top. Soldado is the worst.
That being said, Harry Kane has looked like one of the better strikers in EPL this season. A Kane-Kramaric duo would be really fascinating. I’m pulling for Liverpool, but Tottenham is probably my 2nd favorite EPL team (3rd is good ol QPR!!).
Wherever Kramaric goes, I’ll be excited as long as it’s not a Chelsea or Juventus. Happy that at least one player will be doing something major from Croatia in January.
@Croatia vs. Antwerp
Uh oh. Ziva’s gonna be pissed.
But on a serious note, Mandzo’s got 14 goals out of 21 games this season.
…and that’s with no penalties, and he even had a couple of legit goals called back.
Lewandowski has 9 in 22 games, and he plays on a team that can feed him better. 🙂
Inter Milan is intriguing now that they have a real coach in Mancini.
But their players are trash. They need more than just Kramaric to turn that team around.
Their flawed roster is comprised of guys still living on past glory (ie. Palacio, Vidic) who have been terrible this season. Overrated players (ie. Ranocchia, Osvaldo) and players who have regressed or taken steps backward in their careers (Guarin, Kuzmanovic). The only bright spot are the few youngsters (ie. Kovacic, Icardi) but they’re way too young to make up for the flaws of the veteran players.
They need an overhaul.
Looks like our favorite Hrvat on Athletico Madrid scored 2 goals in Copa Del Rey action today.
They will be adding players in the January transfer window.
Icardi is good, but asymmetrical rat tail is not setting the world on fire.
Wish I had his problem.
ako ante b moze odluciti za kramarica, odlucio bi da igra za crvenu zvijezdu….cekaj….crvenu zvezdu .
cuo sam da je slavonac iz kanade isto uvijek sanjao igrati za njih. on nije zelio reci da je hrvat kad je zivio u bosni…tko zna sto bi rekao ako je zivio u srbiji!
and get loaned out/sit on the bench?
No yids at tottenham. If he has any sense he will sign for Londons only team CHELSEA!
Hotspur loved Croats when Harry was there… The highers ups there don’t care either way.
A mid table La Liga team would be his best bet, but as IvicA mentioned above, it might be hard to meet his demands.
From a fan POV, I would hope he would take a mid table La Liga offer, where he can get the experience of playing against the worlds best, but not be expected to carry a team potentially.
Otherwise, I’d want to see him go to Serie A. I know it’s not Udinese’s style (they build through youth) … but with DiNatale retiring soon, I’m surprised Udinese aren’t a player in potentially picking him up.
He wants to go to Spain (which would be good) but the top teams already have good in-form strikers.
The mid-tier teams in La Liga won’t meet Rijeka’s asking price or even Kramarić’s wage demands. So it’s tough to see him go to Spain AND be a starter.
The kid’s family is well off, so I don’t think they are desperate to jump on the highest paycheck. Hopefully he makes the right call.
Watch him sign for Chelsea now, lol