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Birmingham City complete signing of free agent Alen Halilovic

Alen Halilovic

EFL Championship side Birmingham City have announced the purchase of Alen Halilovic on a short-term contract, with his deal set to run until the end of the season.

The 24-year-old had been released by AC Milan in October and was on the lookout for a new club and his transfer to England would give him an opportunity to get his career back on track.

Alen Halilovic will be handed the no. 35 jersey and the club announced his purchase with a statement on their website, part of which read:

”Blues have completed the signing of highly-rated Croatian international, Alen Halilovic, on a short-term contract.

“The attacking midfielder joins until June 2021 having left Italian giants, AC Milan, when his contract expired last month.

“Halilovic will link up with fellow countryman Ivan Sunjic, having been touted as one of Croatia’s most promising stars.

“At just 24 years old, the talented technician has already been snapped up by the likes of Barcelona and AC Milan, and will join Blues aiming to fulfil his undoubted potential.

“Halilovic, who will wear No.35, will not be made eligible in time for tomorrow evening’s Sky Bet Championship fixture with Luton Town.”

The Croatia international also took to his official Twitter handle to state his excitement at the new adventure, tweeting:

”Honoured and extremely happy to be here! Looking forward to getting started! Keep Right On!”

Although the transfer window is not open in England, the fact that Alen Halilovic was a free agent meant that he could be signed outside the traditional windows.

The former Standard Liege man would not be registered in time to make his debut against Luton Town on Tuesday but might be in line for action against Millwall this weekend.

What went wrong for ‘next Luka Modric’ Alen Halilovic?

Alen Halilovic

Big things were expected from Alen Halilovic

Alen Halilovic emerged as a highly-rated youngster and made waves when he became the youngest debutant in Dinamo Zagreb’s history, stepping off the bench in the ‘eternal derby’ against Hadjuk Split aged 16 years, 101 days.

A week later, he also stepped off the bench to become the youngest goalscorer in the history of the Croatian league, while also becoming the youngest player to make his debut for the Croatian National Team just before he turned 17.

These performances saw his stock rise and led to interest from top clubs around the continent but Barcelona ultimately won the race for his signature, completing the purchase in 2014.

He starred frequently for the Barcelona B side but did not make the step up to the first team and major disagreements surfaced over his future plans, with the club preferring a loan to a Spanish side, while his father wanted to secure European experience for his son.

This was to be a recurring theme over the next few years and several other clubs complained about the overbearing influence of his family on his career.

Further spells have been undergone at Sporting Gijon, Hamburg, Las Palmas, Standard Liege, Heerenveen, and AC Milan but he failed to make a mark on any of the clubs.

So far, Alen Halilovic has been unable to fulfill the promise he showed early in his career but at just 24 years, there is still enough time for him to get back on track.

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