It seems like every few months we hear of the next “Bosnian Messi,” or “Bosnian Ronaldo,” in the local papers, but rarely does anything amount to the piles of praise that are heaped on the myriad of youngsters from the Balkans.
Championship side Bristol City FC have officially announced the signing of Bosnian international striker Milan Djuric for an undisclosed fee, but rumored to be under 2M pounds. The 6’6 striker signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the club, claiming it to be a “dream move,” for him since he’s always wanted to play in England.
Djuric arrived from Serie B side Cesena, where he was a perennial loanee, with stints at several clubs across Italy. Strictly examining his numbers, Djuric plays as a classic centre-forward (much in the old English mold). In 274 total club matches, he’s scored 48 goals and assisted 16 times. In a total of 16,859 minutes, this translates to roughly a goal every 3.9 matches. Not exactly mind-blowing numbers until you take a look at his international level statistics, although he does have a claim to fame with his goal against Buffon.
For Bosnia’s under-21 squad, Milan is most famous for his headed hat-trick (heading the ball is something he’s quite good at) against Germany. In four matches, he scored six times. For the senior side, in 14 matches, he’s scored 7 times, most coming in from the bench. The 26 year old striker has a powerful build, and an uncanny resemblance to none-other than Zlatan Ibrahimovic himself.
His goal ratio in Italy is adequate, while his numbers for Bosnia are quite impressive. What is most impressive however, are not the raw statistics but Milan’s overall contribution to the team. As a striker, he has done a fantastic job of holding up the ball, contributing defensively, and acting as a focal point for set-piece specialists like Pjanic, from the corner or otherwise. Simply put, used correctly, and given a serious run of games, Djuric can convert chances into goals, not just from crosses, but from build up play and dead ball situations. In Italy, the constant loan spells and irregular playing time affected his overall performance. However, if Djuric is given a chance to lead the line, his dominating physical presence, heading ability, and work rate could be well suited for the English game.