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Viola linked to Balkan teenager and nobody is surprised

This one’s got Corvino writ large all over it.

Dinamo Zagreb v Salzburg: UEFA Champions League
Certainly looks the part.
Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Pantaleo Corvino has a pretty impressive track record when it comes to spotting teenage Balkan talent. Dimitar Berbatov, Mirko Vucinic, Valeri Bojinov, Stevan Jovetic, Adem Ljajic, Stefan Savic, and many others can attest to this. So when you start hearing that Fiorentina are interested in Bojan Knezevic, you almost expect him to become an absolute star.

Bojan Knezevic is a 19-year-old Croatian midfielder who’s risen through the famous Dinamo Zagreb academy. He can play just in front of the defense or as a number 10, but he’ll probably settle in as a pure central midfielder. He’s a delightfully quick-footed player who can easily slip out of trouble, and whose distribution looks simple until you realize that he sees passing angles to start moves that a lot of players 10 years his seniors can’t figure out. He also seems to hoover up every loose ball in the middle of the park, and cuts out passing lanes very well.

This is his first season as a first-team regular player. He’s made 9 starts in 16 appearances across 3 competitions, managing an assist and 3 yellow cards. He’s also made 13 appearances for the Croatia U19s, scoring twice, and probably isn’t that far from getting his first senior call, although that Croatia midfield is so stacked he may spend another year or two in the youth ranks.

A lot of Croatian publications rate him as one of the top prospects in the nation, and he already looks comfortable in the top tier domestic league. It’s only a matter of time before he’s whisked away to a bigger league. The only caveat here is that Dinamo Zabreb will know they have a star on their hands and will probably drive a hard bargain for his services.