Balkan U-20 talent not to be missed

Balkan U-20 talent not to be missed


Despite not being among the top 18 leagues in Europe according to the UEFA ranking, they are two of the most closely watched places to detect talent. Serbian and Croatian footballers possess a series of characteristics highly valued by any club in the world. They are physically perfect for top levels, in terms of height, wingspan, and adaptability. They are technically proficient and also possess good striking ability and creativity, as they still maintain street football alive in less technified areas. Additionally, they are highly competitive with a great capacity to adapt to the lifestyle of each country. From there, a huge number of extraordinary footballers have emerged. And that’s not going to stop happening.

Using an age filter (20 years or younger), we have wanted to search, see, and describe some of the most interesting players who are having prominence in the first divisions of Serbia and Croatia. Following the recent transfers of Jovan Mijatovic to NY Red Bull, Kosta Nedeljkovic loaned to Red Star Belgrade from Aston Villa, or Mihailo Ilic to Bologna, it’s time to give more visibility to other interesting talents to soon seek a new leap in their career.

Igor Miladinovic – Winger – 2003 – Contract ends 2024 – Right-footed – Market value: €3M

Only his height (1.70m) overly conditions his near future. A classic attacking midfielder, skilled with technical quality, dribbling, final pass, and shooting, able to adapt to the left flank or play behind the ‘9’. His ball control and dribbling give him a significant advantage over average defenders in the league, also contributing impressive numbers so far (8 goals and 4 assists).

Domagoj Bukvic – Winger – 2004 – Contract ends 2025 – Left-footed – Market value: €750k

Another interesting winger, with good dribbling ability, initiative, and offensive frequency. A very specific player, ranking sixth in completed dribbles and sixth in expected assists in the league. He excels in pre-shot actions and has room for improvement in shooting and finishing.

Franjo Ivanovic – Centre-forward – 2003 – Contract ends 2025 – Right-footed – Market value: €1.5M

A striker who has passed through Augsburg, whose main virtue is shooting on target. More mobile than technically skilled, he stands out in all the statistics of disruption and shooting in the final meters, both in shots and expected goals or touches in the opponent’s area. He is finishing below expectations but possesses a very interesting precise shot, suggesting room for improvement in this parameter.

Petar Sucic – Central midfielder – 2003 – Contract ends 2028 – Right-footed – Market value: €1M

Among the midfielders, we highlight GNK Dinamo’s central midfielder, Petar Sucic. A pivot with a great reading of the game, excellent in duels, and calm in distributing the ball. He’s not overly creative but excels in defensive metrics and has the judgment to complement the game of Croatia’s most important football club. His handicap this season has been ball losses when in possession.

Niko Sigur – Full-back/Midfielder – 2003 – Right-footed – Market value: €2M

Another of Croatia’s great talents, with experience in the national team, is Niko Sigur. A player who has played minutes both as a full-back and as a midfielder. Very secure with the ball, influential in attack, and very difficult to beat one-on-one. A player with a promising future given his versatility and consistency.

Founded in 2017 as a consultancy, Driblab has driven innovation through data in all aspects of professional football. Thanks to a transversal model, its database collects and models statistics in all directions. From converting matches and videos into bespoke data for training academies to developing cutting-edge technology, helping clubs, federations and representative agencies in talent scouting and transfer markets. Driblab’s smart data is used by clubs all over the world, with success stories such as Dinamo Zagreb, Real Betis and Girondins Bordeaux among others. Here you can find out more about how we work and what we offer.

Autor: Alejandro Arroyo
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