Andrej Kramarić (30)
Kramarić is one of the Bundesliga’s best strikers… but he’s never produced for Croatia. Is it due to him being out of position as a natural striker? Or is he simply an international underperformer?
Regardless, Kramarić has enough talent to have a spot in our 23 man roster… or does he? If Kramarić can’t find his rhythm or be useful anywhere in our squad, there may be no upside to calling him up. This is drastic, I agree, but over the course of the next year or so, if no solution is resolved regarding Andrej Kramarić, he might as well just be dropped.
On the bright side, Kramarić does have 2 goals and 2 assists in his last three matches with the Vatreni. Despite missing a few big chances as well, these are the kind of numbers we like to see. It is, however, worth noting that three of these G/A were against Malta.
Does Dalić sacrifice the formation and change things so drastically JUST to suit Kramarić, or is he not worth making such major changes to accomodate?
Mario Pašalić (26)
Pašalić is taking the Serie A by storm this season. According to SofaScore, he is the 17th best player in the entire league. In 15 starts, Mario Pašalić has 8 goals and 5 assists, putting him at almost 1 goal contribution per 90 minutes. Pašalić is tied 7th in most G/A in the entire Serie A. All this while being deployed as a midfielder AND having much less minutes than the rest of the players on the list.
Vlahović= 19 G/A in 1861 minutes (1 G/A per 97.95 minutes)
Immobile= 19 G/A in 1636 minutes (1 G/A per 86.10 minutes)
Berardi= 19 G/A in 1750 minutes (1 G/A per 92.11 minutes)
Simeone= 15 G/A in 1507 minutes (1 G/A per 100.47 minutes)
Milinković-Savić= 15 G/A in 1772 minutes (1 G/A per 118.13 minutes)
Pedro= 14 G/A in 2068 minutes (1 G/A per 147.71 minutes)
Martinez= 13 G/A in 1228 minutes (1 G/A per 94.46 minutes)
Pašalić= 13 G/A in 1118 minutes (1 G/A per 86.00 minutes)
Pašalić has the best scoring rate per minutes played in the entire Serie A.
Although he’s an attacking midfielder, trying him out as a CF or false nine in some of our March friendlies or Nations League matches would be worth a shot. He’s such a prolific scorer both for club and country that it would be a crime not to try and work a formation including Pašalić as the leading forward.
Ante Budimir (30)
Two goals in 12 games. Although he brings a target man play-style, his production is just simply not good enough. Budimir deserves a chance, but let’s not rely on him as the solution to our problem. Maybe he can become a solid National Team player or backup, but Croatia will not win the 2022 World Cup with him as a starter.
Bruno Petković (27)
Following an amazing Euro qualification campaign, Petković has been, to say the least, quite disappointing in the red and white checkers. In 15 games this season he has 5 goals and 3 assists, which are pretty low numbers for the HNL, considering his skill level.
We know Petković is extremely talented, but he is lazy and lacks drive. He doesn’t have much ambition in his footballing career. A player with this sort of attitude should not have a place on a team like Croatia, who prides itself in hard working and creative nogomet.
Unless he starts performing again for Dinamo, we may have seen the last of Bruno Petković for the National Team, ladies and gentlemen.
Marko Livaja (28)
Livaja’s performances for Hajduk Split this season have been extraordinary. In 18 appearances, Livaja has recorded 13 goals and 4 assists.
Although he is in excellent form in the 1. HNL, is he really a striker? And does he have the quality to perform against international football’s juggernauts like France, Germany or Brazil? I’m not sure. We need to see him some more with the National Team as I think he’s proven himself worthy to, at the very least, be on the squad.
Antonio Čolak (28)
Čolak has 14 goals and 3 assists in 26 appearances in the Swedish League. He should be considered as a potential candidate, but let’s be real here, he’s no solution to our problem moving forward.
Petar Musa (23)
If we ignore his small 5 game slump, Petar Musa has scored 6 goals in 11 games for Portuguese club Boavista. He’s still young (23) and has a good frame at 6’3 and 180lbs. Definitely an asset for the NT in the future, and potentially even for the March qualifiers or Nations League. I’d love to see him get capped, and who knows, maybe he’ll be a very strong striker for us. Probably a better asset than Budimir or Colak at the moment.
Marko Pjaca (26)
Although mostly being a sub for overachieving Italian club Torino, Pjaca has really impressed whenever being on the pitch. He’s excellent at bringing the ball forward and dribbling past opponents. In 7 starts, he has recorded 3 goals. Pjaca can be deployed as a CF or RW, two positions in which we lack players at the moment.
Roko Šimić (18)
Roko Šimić is probably our most talented young striker, and although he’s cooled off a bit recently, he’s still recorded 11 goals and 1 assist in 18 matches for Liefering. He has 6 goals in 6 matches for Croatia U21, proving himself on the international stage for his country.
He has a big frame, is a powerful runner, and is absolutely clinical in the box. What more could we want out of a striker? At the moment, he seems to be a young and enhanced Mario Mandžukić. Šimić is the solution to our striker problems, but we will have to wait potentially a few more years for him. Will he be ready to lead the line by the 2022 World Cup? Only if he provides a strong season for Salzburg next year, will he be considered.
Marin Ljubičić (19)
Hajduk are looking to offload one of their brightest talents, and only good striker talent, in Marin Ljubičić. This all seems very puzzling. Ljubičić is a talented CF/RW and definitely has the potential to become an excellent player for the Vatreni.
Ljubičić has 8 goals and 2 assists in 13 calculated matches for Hajduk. This is very impressive for a young striker playing for Hajduk, considering the pressure put on youngsters in Split.
Gabriel Vidović (18)
Vidović is the brightest talent in the entire Bayern academy. Although not primarily a striker, Vidović can be deployed as a center-forward, second striker or false nine. Vidović is now training with Bayern’s first team after being out with a few injuries, and is expected to make his official debut against RB Leipzig in Bayern’s next league match. The young forward is incredibly skilled, intelligent and has that goal scoring touch. He knows how to create space for himself and find openings in the net to score. His strongest attribute, the one that separates him from other young Bayern talents, is his dribbling and ability to make something out of nothing with the ball at his feet. He will pull off the wildest skill moves in tight spaces and, most importantly, ALWAYS get a shot off or distribute the ball to a teammate. He never loses the ball. He will either shoot (and get it on target every time), pass or get fouled. Bayern fans are calling Vidović as big a talent as Jamal Musiala, and Lewandowski’s eventual replacement.
Vidović has 13 goals and 7 assists in 17.5 calculated matches.
Please view the highlight tape I’ve put together of Gabriel Vidović linked below.
Dion Drena Beljo (19)
Beljo, the 19 year old giant, shows glimpses of Zlatan Ibrahimović in his game. Despite being 6’5, he displays incredible dribbling and ball control. This season, Beljo has been Istra’s best player and one of the best strikers in the entire league. He will undoubtedly get a chance with Osijek’s senior team next season.
Beljo has 11 goals and 4 assists in 17.6 calculated matches.