Liverpool won’t be signing Mario Gotze unless something dramatically changes this summer, with the Bayern man committing his future to the Bundesliga champions – but Croatian paper Sportske Novosti suggests we’ve already moved for another playmaker – Dinamo Zagreb’s Ante Coric.
Their report claims we’re lining up a €15m bid and have even invited the Croatia U21 international to Melwood, on Jurgen Klopp’s instructions.
But who is he…?
Actually, one of the most talented youngsters on the continent. We’ve compiled a ten point list to make Liverpool fans instant experts.
1) Between the ages of 12 and 15, Croatian Coric actually played for Red Bull Salzburg in Switzerland. He moved there because the quality of the youth coaching was higher than in his homeland, but was signed by current club Dinamo Zagreb in 2013 for a hefty €900,000.
2) One year later, two days after turning 17, Coric made his first-team debut, coming on as a 69th minute sub against RNK Split. He’d make his first start soon after.
3) In September 2014, Coric became the youngest goalscorer in Europa League history, coming off the bench to score against Lokomotiv Zagreb – aged 17 and 157 days.
4) His performances earned him the title of Croatian Hope of the Year, also winning Croatia’s Young Player of the Year award as well.
5) In total, Coric has racked up 67 first-team club appearances, scoring ten goals. For Croatia’s youth sides, he’s represented every side from under-15 to under-21.
6) Coric’s form in 2015/16 earned him selection in Croatia’s Euro 2016 squad. He’s yet to win a cap at senior level, but he’s been called up, while Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren has been left at home due to an argument with management.
7) The teenager plays as a no.10, in the traditional sense. From here, he dictates attacks and prides himself on intricate through-balls, precision skill and one-twos with strikers.
8) His performances this term meant that three of Europe’s biggest clubs directly approached him, but a deal wasn’t done.
“I spoke to Manchester City and Bayern Munich representatives, while I also spoke with a Real Madrid scout and there were other clubs interested in signing me as well,” he told Goal in April.
“But everything has changed now and I am happy at Dinamo again. I think I will stay with Dinamo.”
(Where this proves to be the case, remains to be seen…)
9) His club manager Zoran Mamic claims Coric has the potential to usurp Real Madrid’s brilliant Croatian pair.
“Ante is a treasure for our club. He is a greater talent than Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic were at his age.”
10) If that wasn’t enough, Dinamo Zagreb’s club president added: “He is better than Boban or Prosinecki were at the same age.”