Reports from Croatia today suggest that Chelsea have delved into the transfer market regardless of the embargo situation and agreed to sign highly-rated teenage goalkeeper Matej Delac. Official confirmation from at least one of the parties is expected soon, but since it’s a youth transfer it’s unlikely to be Chelsea. So let’s take a look on their behalf.
Index.hr report that the deal has been agreed and that Delac will join up with Chelsea next summer for an initial fee of €1m, potentially rising to €3m. The young stopper has been in London undergoing initial medical checks and with those successfully passed, will return to Inter Zapresic to play out the remainder of the season before coming to London.
So what do we know about him? He’s a shade over 6’2″ tall, and will still be 17 come the start of next season, only turning 18 in late August (20th, born 1992). In February of 2008 he became the youngest player to feature in the Croatian top division, making his debut against the mighty Dinamo Zagreb. As if scripted, he was to face a stoppage time penalty from veteran international Davor Vugrinec, and duly saved it to hold on for a 1-0 win.
He continued to impress with his penalty saving prowess, and as his performances grew as a regular starter he has also made his way through the national team set-up, to the point he was called into Slaven Bilic’s full squad for Croatia’s recent visit to Wembley. He has at times astounded followers with just how good he is for his age, leading some to believe he is the greatest teenage goalkeeper perhaps ever, and one of modern Croatia’s very finest potential players. A first-team regular in goal at age 16? That just doesn’t happen.
From what’s available on him, he seems a mature and grounded individual who feels a great honour with where he’s at and an ambition to reach the very top. The decision to continue to develop at Inter will be partly his, even if Chelsea’s transfer embargo makes it necessary, and it all points to a good deal for the Blues. There are a number of young stoppers currently at the club who do have potential, but there’s a clear and apparent gap between the first team and the rest right now, and a long way for the likes of Rhys Taylor and Jan Sebek to go. It would appear Chelsea have, in beating off interest from some of Europe’s finest, found someone to bridge that gap, with top end potential.
We shall wait and see.