Switzerland features miscellaneous multicultural players all around the country and with their improving football they want to gain ground in the football world. Grasshopper Football Club is one of the most respected football clubs in the country producing some neat talents to export to all of Europe. One of the newest and the best products of this structure is Izet Hajrovic.
WHO IS IZET HAJROVIC?
Izet’s parents are originally from Bijelo Polje, Montenegro but relocated to Sarajevo in 1980, while he was born in Brugg, Switzerland. After a while, his parents decided to move to Switzerland in 1987. He was nine years old when he started to play football at Grasshopper’s youth ranks. Thanks to his commendable improvement, he had a chance to showcase his talents in the first team at such an early age. He made his first team debut on 3rd October, 2009 against Luzern. He was subbed on in the 89th minute of the game. He didn’t have a chance to influence the game but it was one of the most important moments in his short career as a young improving player.
After his debut , he was immediately sent back to Grasshopper II to have more playing time. The following season he started to appear for the first team. He played 21 games in total and provided 5 goals and gave 1 assist. After the 2012 – 13 season he became one of the most important members of first team squad, playing 42 games and managing 11 goals and providing 8 assists. In the first half of the 13 – 14 season, he reached his peak at the club before joining Galatasaray. In total, he scored 6 goals and provided 4 assists in 15 games before joining Turkish giants Galatasaray.
He moved to Galatasaray for a fee of around €3.5 million on a 4 and a half year contract. He made his Turkish Super League debut for Galatasaray on 2 February, 2014 against Bursaspor, playing for half an hour. The game was effectively over as Galatasaray scored 5 in 60 minutes and he didn’t have a chance to play a competitive game. After his debut he has found it hard to find a spot in the team, mostly because of the foreigner rule which states that only 8 non-Turkish players can be named in a match-day squad with 6 on the field at a time. The Chelsea game in the Champions League wasn’t the best moment of his young Galatasaray career as he was taken off by Roberto Mancini just after 30 minutes. His contribution was a bit limited last season, as the player managed just 6 goals and 6 assists.
In the summer transfer window of 2013 Napoli, Atletico Madrid, and Valencia were interested in bringing him to their club. His value was approximately around €3 million but suddenly, the fee rose to €5 million and most clubs backed off after their initial interest.
So far, Izet Hajrovic’s national team career has been convoluted. He has been part of both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Switzerland. At junior level, he played for Switzerland. The Swiss junior national team coaches didn’t realize his talent until he played for the first team. He played 8 times for different Switzerland age groups and was unable to score in any of his outings. In November 2012, he made his debut with the Switzerland national team but after a while he implied that he would rather played for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
FIFA announced that he was eligible to play for Bosnia due to his application to change his nationality. In September 2013, he was called up by national team manager, Saffet Susic, to play in a World Cup qualification match against Slovakia. He has since been called up to the World Cup squad and made the final 23.
STYLE, STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES
Izet Hajrovic plays as a right attacking winger. One can draw similarities to his play with Arjen Robben, although he’ll probably never get to that level. Hajrovic has good technique, ball control and first touch. His long shots are an extreme threat for any opponent.
The first thing noticed about him was that he tends to cut inside often. He is able to use both his feet and when he cuts inside, he is capable of a good long range shot or a good finish from inside the box. A typical modern-day inverted winger.
As stated, he tends to cut inside often in every game to score more goals. Hajrovic looks to exploit the space offered in central areas by cutting in from a wide zone. He constantly looks for the empty spaces and starts his deadly runs. This is the best thing he does on the pitch: combining his forward runs with a decent finish. This could result in him scoring more than 10 goals in every season. He is a mature player, aware of expectations. Mentally, he is strong with good concentration and focus. He’s a cool-headed player who keeps his calm in pressure situations.
Having said that, in my opinion, he is not versatile. He doesn’t have an extensive repertoire in terms of attack. He tends to only cut inside and take a shot which he does extremely efficiently, but this lack of variation in his style restricts his efficiency. He should learn to pass the ball more often; whenever he does, he is unable to provide useful through balls for strikers or even midfielders. He doesn’t like to hug the touch line either. He provides empty spaces for the right back but the same scenario in every single attack limits the attacking contribution of these full-backs.
Shrewd defenders can easily defend against him. Being a predictable player, he doesn’t know how to flummox an opponent. He has to learn to embellish his game with different styles and needs to learn to be more flexible in terms of attacking variations. Physically, he isn’t the most powerful player but he can decently hold his own. He is a fast and agile player but needs to improve his balance and stamina. For me, the biggest weaknesses of his game is that he always tries to take a shot from long distance which doesn’t help him to be aware of movements of strikers and midfielders. He locks himself onto getting a goal and sometimes it makes him a bit selfish.
Another possible weaknesses of Izet is Roberto Mancini. The Italian manager isn’t the best one when it comes to improving players individually. Under Mancini he can improve his defensive movements and positioning but the Italian manager won’t give him playing time to improve himself. He wants him to contribute immediately but Izet needs more time to adapt to Turkish football. This could prevent his development and could be a real threat for Izet’s future at Galatasaray.
The other threat for Izet’s improvement is, Turkey’s impatient, dull and intrusive football environment and it could restrict his improvement.
Hajrovic has been a revelation for Safet Susic and the Bosnian national team. After what seemed like months of media speculation about his national team future, many thought he was as good as lost when he answered’s Hitzfled’s call, and showed up to a Swiss national team friendly meeting. But unexpectedly, he changed his mind and made a spectacular debut for Bosnia in Slovakia, where his “projectile” goal changed the course of history.
Football wise, he’s a technically gifted player with plenty of pace and a strong shot. For Bosnia, Susic has preferred to play him on the right midfield position, even though he could just as easily play as an attacking midfielder or emergency striker. His crossing ability is good, although he prefers to cut inside of the box himself and create plays. Overall, he’s added a new dimension to the Bosnian team with his speed and stamina, something that has been lacking in the past, and only added to our already gifted technical ability. Definitely a player to watch and someone who could be an essential part of Bosnia’s future campaigns.
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