Tošić checks in, Ljajić on his way, Djuričić to follow?
Posted by nickogs20 on January 15, 2009
Having already added Zoran Tošić and Adem Ljajić to the ranks this January, United could be set to further swell the Serbian contingent at Old Trafford with the signing of 16 year-old playmaker Filip Djuričić.
The young midfielder currently plays his football for Serbian lower league side Radnički Obrenovac in the Serbian capital Belgrade, but is an academy product of Radnički’s illustrious city neighbours Red Star Belgrade. Djuričić was ‘poached’ by Greek giants Olympiakos but legal action forced the youngster (and his team-mate Aleksandar Kovaćević) to return to Red Star, after which his father took the decision to ‘move’ his son to Radnički due to percieved poor treatment at the Marakana.
A team-mate of Adem Ljajić in the Serbian U17 side, boasting 10 goals in twenty appearances at that level, Djuričić is considered to be the brightest prospect of an impressive 1992 class in Serbia, and had looked set to join Dutch side Ajax this month until the late intervention of United, through their increasingly prolific Balkan scout Budimir Vujačić (who played a key role in the signings of Tošić, Ljajić and Nemanja Vidić). A guest at Old Trafford for the victory over Chelsea on Sunday (Filip is pictured here sat in front of Jose Mourinho in the director’s box, wearing the red jacket), Djuričić will spend the next week at Carrington – his agent Jovica Radonjić has confirmed the details of the trial:
“Filip is at Manchester United together with Budimir Vujačić and is impressed with what he experienced during the game against Chelsea. He was first presented at the club, and then he watched the match in the VIP box, in the company of the likes of Jose Mourinho and Fabio Capello. For a boy of his age it’s an incredible thing; he is mentally very strong, mature and has a strong character. He is also aware of how much more effort and hard work lies ahead of him.
“He had two training sessions on Monday, while today [Tuesday] he should undergo tests and remain at Old Trafford until 18 January. If he pleases Ferguson, then in late January or early February I will travel to Manchester in order to negotiate the terms of his deal so that the contract can be signed.”
The teen has been training with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the reserve side, and judging by his comments to Serbian newspaper Kurir, he has his heart set on a move to Manchester:
“Every day, there are more of us here at United. If we will do well, definitely more Serbs will come to United. Serbian will soon be the official language here! Manchester United do not call a player without a reason. People in the club told me not to talk with the press about my stay in Manchester and especially not to mention the conversations.”
“I was surprised to see Jose Mourinho in front of me (at the Chelsea game). At half time, I saw Fabio Capello, Marcel Desailly and many others who I recently watched on TV. I was amazed by Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo. I came here with Mr [Budimir] Vujačić [United’s scout] and saw Tošić and Vidić. I trained with the second team.”
Should Djuričić suitably impress Ole, Sir Alex and the rest of the United coaching staff it seems certain a deal would be done to secure his signing from Radnički in the near future, but as with Adem Ljajić, the 16 year-old wouldn’t be able to move to England until he has turned 18 (which conveniently will happen on January 30th 2010, during the transfer window, allowing the two young Serbs to join up at the same time). Mr Radonjić, while understandably hedging his bets, has considered the possible solutions should Filip sign and need to be loaned out for the next 12 months:
“Let’s first wait until Filip passes all the tests and then we can discuss the details. It’s no secret, however, that one of the possible options is that he could return to Radnički for a year, which I would insist on. Another scenario would be that United send him away to one of their affiliate clubs. Another realistic option would be Belgium, given the fact 17-year-olds are allowed to play top-league football there. So his options are relatively open; only one thing is for sure – he cannot join another Serbian club.”
Meanwhile, Zoran Tošić was officially unveiled as a Manchester United player on Tuesday in a press conference held at United’s Carrington training ground. Tošić appeared alongside Sir Alex Ferguson and spoke briefly in limited English (although one journalist joked he was easier to understand than Rooney) before going on to speak at greater length in his native Serbian:
“It’s fantastic to be here – this is the most important day of my life. All I’m thinking about now is to training well so I’m ready to play for this great club.”
“We all know what sort of team we are talking about and what kind of players we are talking about. It’s up to me to train well and prove myself, and try to get into the team as quickly as possible.”
“I know how much I can offer. When I’m ready to play, and when I’m chosen to play, I don’t feel I need to change many things. But it’s up to others to decide when I’m ready.”
Sir Alex confirmed that the 21 year-old winger wouldn’t be pressed into first-team duty straight away. With his last game for Partizan being over a month ago and there being a need to prepare Tošić for the particular demands of the English game, it could be over a month before we see him in action. When we do, Sir Alex has compared aspects of Zoran’s play with former United legend David Beckham:
“It is a great option for us to have someone with a natural left foot in our team. There are similarities with Beckham in terms of going box-to-box and his good delivery.”
“It’s possible we’ll see him playing in around six weeks.”