Sunday, 28 December 2014
Chelsea set to bid for Kramaric
The Blues sent negotiators to Croatia on Saturday for talks with the player's father and a Rijeka delegation, including former Aston Villa striker Bosko Balaban
Chelsea are set to lodge a €10 million bid for Rijeka hotshot Andrej Kramaric.
The 23-year-old has scored 27 goals in 26 matches this season across the Croatian Prva HNL and Europa League, building on last season's tally of 30 in 41 in all competitions.
Those impressive figures have caught the eye of some of Europe's top clubs, including Juventus and AC Milan, while Leicester City tried to reverse their Premier League fortunes by lodging an official bid to sign the forward.
Kramaric, however, rejected the Foxes on the grounds that they are likely to be relegated this season and Chelsea have now moved in and hope to secure a deal in the coming days.
Blues manager Jose Mourinho has previously insisted that his club will not do any business in the upcoming January transfer window but it is understood that representatives were in Croatia on Saturday to meet with the player's father and agent, Joza, as well as a Rijeka delegation including former Aston Villa striker Bosko Balaban.
A fee of a €10m has been proposed, with the Croatian side set to receive just over €4.8m as Dinamo Zagreb, Kramaric's former club, are due between 50 and 60 per cent of the total fee thanks to a clause in the 2013 transfer.
A friendly between the two clubs at Rijeka's new stadium, expected to open in 2016, is thought to form part of the proposal.
It has not yet been decided whether the Blues would keep Kramaric for the second half of the season or send him on loan, either back to Rijeka or another European club.
Chelsea have established a vast loan network for their young stars, with many tasting action in the Netherlands with Vitesse, but the forward is keen to stay at Stamford Bridge and would not favour a tempoarary switch, as was the case with fellow Croatian Mario Pasalic, who joined from Hajduk Split in July and is now at Elche.
Croatia national team coach Niko Kovac told Goal $ Sportmasta earlier in December that Kramaric should choose his next club carefully and quickly, suggesting that he should move where he is most likely to see first-team action.
"My advice not only to him but all young players going out is don't look at how high a salary you can get but choose a club you will play in," he said.
"When young players go out, they do not know anybody, don't have friends, family, don't know the language and, if they don't play, they lose confidence and, in a year or two, disappear.
"And if they play in some smaller team, the opportunity will come to go to a bigger club and earn more."
Kovac handed Kramaric his Croatia debut in September after representing his country at seven different youth team levels, from the Under-14s up to the Under-21s.
He has scored twice, against Malta and Azerbaijan in Euro 2016 qualifiers, in his four senior appearances to date.