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You might well have heard of the name: Dejan Lovren. A gangly, elegantly composed, ball-playing Croatian defender currently plying his trade in France with Lyon.
Having made his mark with the Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb’s youth team, Lovren was quickly attracting the attention of several top level European sides. And in 2010, he was off, but who to?
The answer is Lyon. He joined on a four-and-a-half-year contract, in a deal worth up to over £8 million. A lofty transfer fee for a youngster yet to taste high intensity, regular first-team football in one of Europe’s top divisions.
But, clearly, the Lyon scouts believed Lovren was good enough to make the step up. And his since move, he’s been a magnificently consistent performer in the heart of the club’s backline.
Strong in the tackle, powerful in the air and a natural leader – the 23-year-old has made over 50 appearances for Remi Garde’s men. So not surprisingly, he’s now on the transfer list of more top, top level teams. Consistently excellent centre backs are hard to come but nowadays, hence the que.
But not only is Lovren a perfectly able operator at club level, but he’s also a member of Croatia’s national team. Following his call-up in 2009, he has earned 16 caps and is growing into the side.
He was unfortunate to miss out on the European Championships in the summer, having been inflicted with a bad injury just before the 23-man squad was picked. However, if he continues to impress, he could well be selected for Croatia’s 2014 World Cup campaign if they get there.
Barcelona, Manchester United, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and others are all top quality clubs reportedly chasing Lovren. Lyon will have tough job on their hands trying to keep him, sooner or later he will have to go and it will be fascinating to observe just how well he does.
Written by Nathan Carr
Follow him on Twitter @NathanCarr67
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