Adem Ljajić 20 Midfielder Fiorentina
Here is a player with a story that belies his age. Following the announcement of his transfer to Manchester United, seventeen year old Serbian starlet Adem Ljajić found himself tagged 'the new Paul Scholes' - ready, willing and able to take up long term residence in United’s midfield.
But then came the sharp descent. The exact circumstances surrounding the Serb’s collapsed transfer to United seemed, officially at least, to revolve around work permit issues. However, several seasoned Old Trafford observers hinted at a failure to impress his potential employers. A move from Partizan Belgrade in 2008 did transpire, but to Italy not England. Arriving at Fiorentina with a first team berth and a reputation, it was time for Ljajic to prove himself one way or another.
The result? Neither. He can be maddeningly inconsistent, veering from the breathtaking to the woeful within the same game. He’s difficult to drop because of his nature as a ‘maybe’ player, as in ‘this may be the game where Ljajić is absolutely wonderful’, or ‘this may be that game where he’s the difference’. Too often Ljajić is a let-down, which would carry none of the frustration but for the knowledge he could and maybe should be something special. Disappointing, but still young enough to find whatever he needs to break the cycle and embark on a sustained run of form.
“For all his talent, patience is starting to run out with the classy Serbian midfielder. He has only sporadically lived up to the promise that prompted Manchester United to gamble on him as a youth - the time to deliver needs to come soon” – Giancarlo Rinaldi (Journalist)
“A strange player - looks intelligent on the ball but rarely contributes directly to goals. Looks a little too timid at times” – Michael Cox (Zonal Marking)
D May be great but evidence suggests this could be as good as it gets, one of the most frustrating talents of a generation.