On Thursday the 21st of July, Barcelona and Hamburg reached an agreement for the sale of 20-year-old Alen Halilović for 5 million euros. Barcelona have the option to buy the Croatian back over the next two seasons for 10 million euros as well as the first option to purchase the player for as long as he is at the German club, but is this the end of Halilović’s Barça dream?
The little attacking-midfielder, nicknamed the Croatian Messi by some (how many times have you heard that?), joined Barça in the summer of 2014 for 5 million euros after spending his youth career and one senior year with Dinamo Zagreb.
Alen joined Eusebio’s Barcelona B, which then became Vinyals’ Barcelona B, playing 29 matches as the B team got relegated, putting in the odd impressive performance and showing glimpses of talent, but under poor management and a disorganised team he failed to show consistency.
Luis Enrique decided the time was right for Halilović to make the jump to La Liga for the 14/15 season, when he joined Sporting Gijón. Playing 37 games for the Asturian club, Halilović often showed he could provide assists and even chip in with a goal, but playing as an central attacking-midfielder in a 4-2-3-1, it didn’t really show anyone how he would fit in at Barça.
When Halilović joined Sporting, they were one of the main candidates for relegation, and they just avoided the drop by a single point, now he joins Hamburg, another club who are odds on to go down to the second division, and it’s difficult to see how he is going to benefit from these relegations battles in the long run.
By selling Halilović to a team that doesn’t resemble the Barça style in the slightest, not to mention that they don’t even play the same system, it seems that his Barça fantasy could be close to its end, especially with the packed midfield at the club.
At a club like Barcelona, it’s difficult for all of the talented players to get their shot at first team football with superstars like Andrés Iniesta, Leo Messi, Neymar Jr and so on taking centre stage. In another era, Alen Halilović could have been a teenage sensation in Barcelona’s first team week in week out, but unfortunately some players have to face the harsh reality of the FCB back-door, but it’s a shame that the Croatian isn’t joining a bigger club that I am sure he is capable of being a part of.