If you follow a team whose sporting director is Pantaleo Corvino, you eventually come to expect the occasional flareup of rumors about some teenager nobody’s ever heard of. Well, Fiorentina fans, it’s that time again. This time, the player is 19-year-old Serbian leftback Aleksa Terzić, who currently plying his trade with Grafičar Belgrade in the second division on loan from Red Star.
Since I am in no way qualified to pass judgement on Terzić, having never seen him play, I turned to Serbian football expert, former Viola Nation writer, and all-around-cooler-than-you-are human Uroš Popović, and here’s what he told me:
“Yeah, it seems like it is a done deal, that is how they are treating it here. The only question is whether it’s 1.5 or 1.7 or whatever.
He use to be considered a huge talent few years back, as a left winger, even Juve was interested when he was like 15 or something. Then he kind of stagnated for a while and then got turned into a left back. Fans here are kind of annoyed he’s leaving without really playing for the first team. He’s currently on loan in 2nd division, at Graficar (which is basically a Zvezda B team).
He played as a winger again for Zvezda in the youth CL, had an assist against Napoli. In any case, he’s a decent talent who’s better at attacking than defending, still a little underdeveloped physically. I don’t think he’s going to be near the first team for a while, they’ll probably keep him at primavera at first. We will see, I think he has a future, and at 1.5 million or whatever it isn’t a huge risk.”
While that’s not the most ringing endorsement, if Uroš says he’s got talent, then the kid’s got talent. While Terzić is probably a ways out from unseating David Hancko, much less Cristiano Biraghi, he could provide an excellent tactical option in a few years as a skillful wingback. Especially if he only costs around €1.5 million, he’s a smart gamble; this is how good, stable squads build themselves.
Furthermore, I can see 5 reasons to be reasonably optimistic:
1. Corvino and Fiorentina have a history of pulling players out of the Serbian leagues; just ask Stevan Jovetić, Adem Ljajić, Matija Nastasić, and Nikola Milenković. While all those guys are Partizan products and Uroš might kill me if I mention them in this story, ol’ Pantaleo’s got a knack for spotting talent in the Balkans.
2. He’s skipped two age brackets for the Serbia national team and is currently playing with the U21s, even scoring the winner in a friendly against Macedonia back in November while playing on the wing again. If he’s being pushed ahead of his cohort, then clearly the FA sees something special in him.
3. He’s got a 20+ minute highlight reel on YouTube and several shorter compilations as well.
4. He turned down Juventus in 2015.
5. Grafičar wears purple, so we know he’ll be comfortable in a Viola shirt.