Tottenham missed out with a £10m move for Dinamo Zagreb wonderkid Alen Halilovic during the summer, but the ‘new Luka Modric’ is still on Andre Villas-Boas’ radar and Spurs are thought to be in talks with the player’s representatives about a January deal.
The north Londoners struck an eye-catchingly good deal five years ago when they lifted Modric from Dinamo for a cheeky £16.5m and are attempting to repeat the trick with a similar-sized bid for exciting 17-year-old Halilovic.
Spurs are 9/10 to overcome a one-goal handicap for the third Europa League game in a row when they visit Sheriff Tiraspol in Moldova.
Halilovic came off the bench to make his Champions League debut against PSG last season aged just 16 years and 128 days old.
The Dubrovnik native came to the attention of Europe’s top clubs when he became the second-youngest player in Champions League history a month after overtaking former teammate Mateo Kovacic as the youngest ever footballer to grace the Croatian League.
Halilovic started seven games in the 1.HNL during his first season in the Dinamo senior squad, came off the bench in 11 matches and found the back of the net twice over the course of the campaign.
The midfielder made his Croatia debut over the summer and was on the bench for their World Cup 2014 qualifier in Serbia.
With a place in the play-offs not guaranteed Halilovic was entrusted with a spot in Igor Stimac’s squad for the game in Beograd at the start of September after impressing in friendlies against Portugal and Liechtenstein.
The youngster has responded to that vote of confidence by continuing his upward trajectory at Dinamo and has appeared in eight of their 13 top-flight matches this term.
However, the player’s father is currently blocking Spurs’ attempts to sign his son.
Sejad Halilovic is a coach at the Croatian champions and is thought to be demanding guarantees from Tottenham regarding how much game-time his progeny will get at White Hart Lane.
Spurs were hoping the player would serve his time at youth level in England for a season before stepping up to the full squad at a later date, but Halilovic senior believes his son’s progression into the Croatian national side warrants first-team football at club level.
Dinamo are thought to be willing to sell and the Lilywhites’ hope to see off competition for Halilovic’s signature by offering £17m, which is £4m more than the teenager’s rumoured release clause.