In November, DUSAN VLAHOVIC was asked if he felt he was the heir to his idol Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Fiorentina player replied ‘no’, that every player has to go through their own journey and that he still has a lot of work to do to reach the level of ‘one of the best strikers ever’ in football’.
However, as a 15-year-old child, Vlahovic has called himself the ‘Ibrahimovic of Belgrade’.
Or so, Partizan’s team-mate at the time was Valeri Bojinov, who had played for Fiorentina before a forgettable season at Manchester City.
The Bulgarian, who claims he told The Viola to sign Vlahovic, said in March of a then-smug teenager: “Vlahovic was crazy, really crazy.
“He used to say to me: ‘I am Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Belgrade, I will play for the strongest clubs.’ I like his arrogance. ”
Call it arrogance or extreme confidence, Vlahovic is a player driven by belief in himself and a desire to reach the top.
A frequent quote from him is how ‘hungry’ he is to improve, despite eating out almost every defender in Italy by the end of the game.
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Vlahovic turns 22 at the end of this month but in 2021 has equaled Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of 33 Serie A goals in a calendar year.
Serbia’s scoring machine is now in the sights of every major club and of Special interest in Arsenal, who will love him to lead their assault back to glory.
Vlahovic was born in the same city of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, to Champions League winner Dejan Stankovic and former Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman.
He’s been playing basketball since he was four years old, looking like Michael Jordan, but it was in Belgrade’s MiniMaxi indoor tournaments where he honed his soccer skills.
Equivalent to 5 people with goals the size of a handball, this version of football is popular in Serbia, especially during the winter months when it snows frequently.
After a brief stint at Red Star Belgrade, Vlahovic signed a permanent contract with rival Partizan, where he played alongside Bojinov.
Players are not allowed to debut before 16 in Serbia.
PROMOTION OF THE ITALY
But Vlahovic took off soon after that milestone arrived, his chance aided by Partizan who was going through a rough patch at the time and wanted to move on to youth.
His time at home did not last long as Fiorentina, who have signed a number of players from Partizan over the years, attracted him in 2018.
Vlahovic has excelled over the past two seasons, transforming himself from a striker in the box into a top scorer, an all-round centre-back.
His numbers are ridiculous and he can score all kinds of goals, including free kicks and penalties.
The 6ft3ins star has also filled in to become one of the most powerful 9s.
Teammate Serb Slavisa Jokanovic, formerly a manager of Fulham and Sheffield United, told SunSport: “Vlahovic has definitely improved a lot of areas of his game over the last few years.
“He became a strong, big, quick player and that is why he is one of the main transfer targets of all the big teams in Europe.
“He has grown physically and from a boy to a man and that has helped him a lot.
“From the number of goals he has scored, you can see that he is a player who is good at finishing, but also very hard working.
“He has great turning speed, can shoot with both feet and is very powerful in the air, so he is a very good all-round striker with a lot of qualities. Another quality is his good attitude and desire for success. ”
Vlahovic, who enjoys MotoGP and fantasy football, often stays after training to finish and run, and has studied Erling Haaland’s moves to improve himself.
Ibrahimovic remains his biggest hero.
The Swedish legend gave Vlahovic an autographed shirt in March after the Serb scored twice in Fiorentina’s 4-3 win over Ibrahimovic’s AC Milan.
Vlahovic revealed later: “He wrote in Serbian, ‘Good luck for everything, I wish you the best’.
“It is unique. Every game against Milan has something special for me, because everyone knows the stories of Ibrahimovic, who is my idol.”
Vlahovic was one of the main driving forces in helping Serbia qualify for the World Cup, where they will likely be seen as the dark horses.
Coach Dragan Stoijkovic defied everyone’s beliefs by creating a 3-4-1-2 formation to cram the talents of Vlahovic, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Dusan Tadic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic into the same team – and it worked.
A combination of Vlahovic and Fulham’s talisman, Mitrovic is a throwback to the ’90s when teams would deploy two power forwards together, like Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton in the Premier League title-winning side. Blackburn’s League.
It is highly likely that Vlahovic will represent another club by the time Qatar returns – with his current contract set to expire at the end of next season and a new one looking unlikely.
HOST OF ADMIRERS
Mikel Arteta would love to be Arsenal and the striker would certainly be a good fit for English football, but there are other suitors out there.
Atletico Madrid were turned down a £50m bid last summer, while Juventus are also said to be very interested.
A move to Manchester City has also been encouraged – and there is a rich history of Serbs going from Partizan to Fiorentina to Man City, with Stefan Savic, Matija Nastasic and Stefan Jovetic all following that route, even if they were not successful at Etihad.
Fiorentina’s colorful billionaire owner Rocco Benito Commisso values his prize fortune at around £63m and insists he won’t let anyone ‘blackmail’ him into selling for less than any value Which player does he think this player is worth?
Vlahovic is said to have been offered a new £4.2million-a-year contract by Vlahovic, which would make him the highest-paid player in Fiorentina’s history.
But there are suggestions that the players’ governing body, the Belgrade-based International Sports Office, wants £6.7m just to extend his contract as well as 10% of any transfer fees. future from Fiorentina and club buy.
Commisso told FT Magazine: “He has grown here. And he should give credit, whatever happens, to the club that got him where he is. “
All roads lead to an exit, either this January or in the summer, but the question is where.
The English-speaking forward could transform Arsenal and take them to the next level.
Five forwards of Vlahovic, Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli over the next decade are certainly remarkable.
But a move to Emirates would also be a gamble from the player’s point of view as they are not guaranteed to qualify for the Champions League.
Nebojsa Markovic, a journalist for Belgrade-based website Mondo who covers the Serbian national team, told SunSport: “If Arsenal sign Vlahovic, it could be a really big deal for him. surname.
“Not only financially but also in terms of football because he feels like the player they are missing.
“He seems to be someone who has all the tools to find his way to England, another level with Serie A.
“But Juventus are in a situation where it could be right for him. They need a striker who will deliver certain goals and he feels like that type of player. They can build their team around him and can afford him.
“With Juventus, you know that soon they will be competing for every title again. But with Arsenal you don’t get that because it’s a lot more difficult in the Premier League.”
While Jokanovic added: “He is an incredibly talented player and there is no doubt he could easily finish in the Premier League, but we don’t know where he will decide to go.
“He also received a lot of interest from Italy, Spain and also interest from French clubs.
“We will have to see what decision he will make about the next step in his career, but he is certainly capable of playing at the highest level.”
Whatever happens to Vlahovic, he is sure to return to achieve success wherever he goes and is certainly unafraid of the challenge.
This is the player who conceded a penalty against Juve last April, despite Fiorentina’s Serie A status in jeopardy at the time.
Speaking like Bojinov, it’s hard not to like his Ibra-style arrogance.
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https://www.thesun.ie/sport/football/8204069/arsenal-juventus-transfer-dusan-vlahovic/ Arsenal would sign ‘huge’ contract if they got Dusan Vlahovic but Juventus transfer could suit him better