20 Defender NK Maribor Slovenia
Pacy, marauding (isn’t that a good word?) full back who is part of an emerging golden generation for Slovenia. Originally a highly regarded goalkeeper, Stojanović has been developed as a right back having spent much of his teenage years playing in midfield. Four times a title winner with Maribor, Stojanović holds the record for being the youngest player to appear in the Slovenian top flight after making his debut at sixteen.
2015 has been…
Limbo. On the one hand, 2015 probably couldn’t have went any better for Petar Stojanović’s development. Retaining his place as a vital component in another trophy laden season with Maribor, rattling out assists (this lad knows how to put a ball in) and picking up a place in the national team, things have been rather peachy.
Or have they?
Maribor’s progress in the Champions League during 2014 will have alerted many of the top clubs to their young full back, now a key player for his club and a vital part of Slovenia’s footballing future. Within weeks of us publishing the IBWM100 for 2015 in late December, Stojanović had hot footed to Germany and was undergoing a medical with Hannover. While the deal looked assured and certainly came as no surprise, Maribor seriously dug their heels in on the financial front, demanding at least €5m for their young full back. Hannover, with the player already on board, refused to go higher than a third of that figure. With their financial demands not met, the Styrian club recalled Stojanović and the deal was off.
In the summer the names of other clubs were mentioned as potential destinations, including Augsburg. Again, with Maribor remaining rigid on a fee, no suitable offer was made and no transfer took place. Right now, Stojanović is a Maribor player and has recently agreed a new five-year contract with Vijoličasti.
So were Hannover right to pull back? Possibly.
While we’re always keen to see young players max out their potential at the club that groomed them, Stojanović will need to move on at some point to step up to a higher level. Hannover may have been a good fit but one of the reasons a deal may have stalled in the summer could be down his disciplinary record.
Defenders pick up bookings, it’s an occupational hazard, but during 2015 Stojanović seems to have gleefully collected yellow cards. That might be reasonable for a team regularly on the back foot but Maribor, as the dominant club in the country, tend to own the Prva Liga so the excessive number of cards they’ve collected tells you all you need to know.
It’s a worrying trait for a talented youngster because suspensions will cost teams points. That’s not a huge problem for Maribor who can cope in their own division, but when Stojanović does step up he’ll be facing better opponents so the tendency for repetitive fouling will soon see him singled out as a weak link, regardless of anything else he brings to the party.
A move may not be imminent and, as things stand, that’s probably a positive thing. Stojanović is good, but he’s raw and the rough edges to his game have to go.
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