Josip Posavec 20 Goalkeeper Palermo Croatia
Highly regarded Croatian goalkeeper whose move to Palermo was accelerated through earlier this year.
First called into the match day squad at Inter Zaprešić within days of his seventeenth birthday, the 6"3' Posavec would make his league debut in a 3-3 draw against NK Sesvete in March 2014. In his three starts for The Ceramists during the 14/15 season, Posavec was beaten only once and did not finish on the losing side as his team gained promotion back to the Croatian Prva HNL. A very impressive seven clean sheets in the opening seven games gave Zaprešić – a club often in the shadow of the more illustrious Dinamo Zagreb – a higher than expected league placing with their young goalkeeper frequently in outstanding form. However Posavec had already committed to a move to Italy and while he was scheduled to join Palermo this summer, the club opted to bring the move forward to January this year.
2016 has been
A difficult step up. With well-travelled back up Simone Colombi moving to Carpi at the start of the year, Palermo opted to exercise their option on Posavec early. Providing competition to teenage custodian Fabrizio Alastra as back up for Stefano Sorrentino, Posavec made his first start for the Rosanero in February this year, keeping Bologna out during a largely uneventful goalless draw at the Stadio Renzo Barbera.
Impressing Coach Davide Ballardini in the summer, Posavec was confirmed as first choice for the Sicilian club at the start of the season. At point of writing, Posavec has been particularly busy and has made as many saves so far this season as Milan’s impressive Gianluigi Donnarumma with both playing the same number of games. In contrast, the 26 goals that Posavec has conceded is the second highest tally in the division, only Cagliari’s Marco Storari has let in more.
Further work is needed, clearly and while the opportunity to play regularly at such a high level will undoubtedly benefit Posavec, the often fluid coaching set up at Palermo may prove to be less beneficial. With Roberto De Zerbi under increasing pressure to win matches, there is every chance that serial dismisser of coaches Maurizio Zamparini will act soon and change things around once more.
One thing that has struck us this season is Posavec’s reluctance to dominate his area when crosses are fired in. Admittedly this is a specialist trait that only true overlords of the position eventually master, but we’d like to think that Posavec’s ample frame should be enough to expect more. As a shot stopper he has consistently proved his worth and remains extremely agile despite his height but there just needs to be that bit more if Palermo are to truly unearth another diamond from the rough.
Swapping the bench in Croatia’s second division to becoming a first choice in Serie A in a few short years is an impressive trajectory nonetheless. Hopefully someone can work on Posavec’s areas for development and allow one of the most talented players of his generation to fully bloom.
C Going in the right direction
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