Scout Report: Ante Palaversa – Croatia’s successor to Luka Modric?
The youngster has made eyeballs turn with his impressive performances since he was promoted to the senior team at the start of the 2018-19 season, scoring twice in 17 appearances for the league’s 6th-placed team.
Palaversa is yet to earn his debut for Croatia at the senior international level but he already has the experience of captaining the U19 side, scoring thrice in 11 appearances.
As Manchester City close in on a deal to take away yet another prodigy from the famous Hajduk Split academy, let us take a closer look at one of the rising stars of Croatian football- Ante Palaversa.
Born in Split, Croatia, Palaversa, joined the Handful Split academy as a kid and made rapid progress through the youth levels, winning the award for the Best Player of the Youth League at the end of the 2016-17 season.
Palaversa was promoted to the reserve team and after playing regularly for the reserves in the second division, he was called up to the first team in June 2018. The 18-year-old made his debut in a Europa League playoff game against Slavia Sofia and he hasn’t looked back since then, establishing himself as a first-team regular for his boyhood club.
Style of Play
A tactically versatile and technically gifted central midfielder, Palaversa is capable of playing in central, holding and box-to-box roles in the middle of the park. A sine qua non for any holding midfielder, the 18-year-old has a wonderful range of passing, which is probably the greatest asset in his repertoire.
He is not only very comfortable with the ball at his feet but he also knows how to dictate the tempo of the game by keeping the ball moving in the middle of the park. However, he is not someone like Jorginho who simply passes the ball around.
Palaversa has already shown the intelligence and the vision to switch the play and change the focal point of the attack with accurate long passes, including cross-field lobs and diagonals. In fact, the Croatian prodigy has shown the raw makings of a wonderful deep-lying playmaker, exhibiting the rare ability to take five or six opposition players out of the game with a single pass.
He is a player with tenacity, drive and determination, winning the ball back with tackles and interceptions and carrying it forward with pace.
In other words, he is someone who establishes the vital link between the defence, midfield and attack. Furthermore, Palaversa is known for his wonderful long-range efforts, showing a good technique to find the net with volleys from outside the box.
What does the future?
When Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic hang up their boots in the next three or four years, they can do it with a sigh of relief because Palaversa is the perfect man to carry the legacy of the Croatian national team forward. To conclude, Palaversa has shown that he is a perfect blend of Modric and Rakitic and there is a likelihood that he will be the base of Croatia’s new golden era.
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The 18-year-old has shown enough promise at Hajduk Split to attract the big boys of Europe. With Manchester City closing in on a deal, the future definitely looks bright for the youngster provided he continues his development down the right path.