Barcelona have confirmed the signing of Croatian international Alen Halilovic, who will link up with the club at the start of the 2014/15 season.
The 17-year-old is regarded as one of the best talents in European football, and he has been linked with a host of top clubs in recent months. It is believed he has attracted interest from the Premier League in particular, with Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur amongst those who have had him watched in action.
However, it has now been confirmed that Halilovic will, from next season onwards, ply his trade in Spain for the Barca B team. Having agreed a cut-price deal of around £2million with Dinamo Zagreb, the Camp Nou side sent a delegation to his homeland to tie up a five-year contract with the attacking midfielder, who can’t wait to head to Catalonia.
“It’s difficult to find the words to describe how I feel,” Halilovic told Barca’s official website. “Of course, Barcelona is something special. It’s the club I’ve loved since I was a boy and I feel honoured to have the opportunity to play for them. First of all, I want to win the double with Dinamo Zagreb, and then concern myself with my new club.”
Halilovic made his bow for Dinamo as a 16-year-old back in 2012, in doing so became the youngest ever debutant for the club, and he soon afterwards became the youngster goalscorer in their history when he netted against Slaven Belupo. And just for good measure, he became the club’s youngster player to appear in the UEFA Champions League, and the second youngster in the history of the competition, in the same year.
And as if that wasn’t enough, he became Croatia’s youngster ever player when he made his debut against Portugal in an international friendly in June 2013. He style of play has likened him with his compatriot Luka Modric, who also came through the ranks at Dinamo before moving onto Tottenham and, his current club, Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, Barca have been dealt a blow with the confirmation that Victor Valdes will not play again this season. The Spanish goalkeeper, who will leave the club when his contract expires in the summer, suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage to his knee during the win over Celta Vigo on Wednesday night, and he will also likely miss the World Cup.