Serbian Zoran ToÅ¡iÄ‡ is set to leave FK Partizan in January and join global giant Manchester United after Sir Alex Ferguson personally advocated for the approval of the 21-year-old winger’s work permit.
“I was told that about 10 days ago that Manchester had sent a request for my work permit which is now granted,” ToÅ¡iÄ‡ noted to the Serbian press recently. He added, “I know nothing more, or what will be the next steps, but I suppose that I have a few games left for Partizan.”
ToÅ¡iÄ‡, known as Bambi because of his slim build, can play on either wing. He has competed 12 times for his national team and was a member of Serbia’s 2008 Olympic squad. The winger has scored six league goals for Partizan this season.
Is there anyone else who could make the jump from Serbia this January or in the summer of 2009? Here are eight more Serbian players who have the potential:
8. Predrag PavloviÄ‡: The 22-year-old right midfielder/winger is a member of Serbia’s U-21 squad; he also competed at the 2008 Olympics. He has already been on trial with Dutch side NEC Nijmegen. Predrag plays for FK Napredak where he has been since 2004. He has two league goals this season.
7. NebojÅ¡a MarinkoviÄ‡: The 22-year-old midfielder plays for FK ÄŒukariÄki Stankom after competing for several years at Partizan. Known for his powerful shot and scoring instincts from the midfield position, NebojÅ¡a scored more than 20 goals in over 60 league matches with Partizan. His 20-year-old brother, Nenad, still plays for the Belgrade club.
6. Marko JovanoviÄ‡: The 20-year-old Partizan centre back teamed with Chelsea wunderkind Slobodan Rajkovic at the 2008 Olympics. Having moved up the youth ranks, he is finally beginning to see first-team action with Partizan.
5. Nenad TomoviÄ‡: The 21-year-old has been a mainstay at Red Star Belgrade since the back half of the 2007-08 campaign. One of Red Star’s brightest talents, the centre back should continue to factor at the Marakana until his moves to a larger league. He is a member of Serbia’s U-21 squad. Nenad also competed at the 2008 Olympics. He noted at the club’s website that one of his greatest wishes is to lead Crvena Zvezda to the UEFA Champions League.
4. Ivan ObradoviÄ‡: The 20-year-old left back has already been called up to the national side. He scored in Serbia’s 3-1 victory over Austria on October 15 in Group 7 qualifying action. He should continue to factor with the national team as Serbia attempts to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. Currently, Serbia is in first place with 9 points in the group. The defender has routinely been the first choice at left back since he was promoted from FK Partizan’s youth academy in 2007. He has started the majority of the club’s league matches this season.
3. Danijel AleksiÄ‡: The 17-year-old forward is one of the main reasons why FK Vojvodina sits in second place in the Serbian Superliga table. He paces the club with 4 goals this season. The youngster is also the captain of the Serbian U-17 team. Partizan and Red Star are both interested in the attacking player but Vojvodina has noted that they intend to keep Danijel on the club. He is the youngest player to ever appear in the Serbian Superliga having competed five days after his sixteenth birthday.
2. Ljubomir Fejsa: The 20-year-old central midfielder broke the Serbian transfer fee when Partizan spent 1.2 million euros to sign him away from FK Hajduk Kula. He has played in 12 league matches this season. An interesting note, Hajduk Kula will receive a large portion of Fejsa’s transfer fee if-and-when he moves from Partizan. Along with Zoran ToÅ¡iÄ‡, he was asked to return from the 2008 Olympics to help Partizan in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League.
1. Adem LjajiÄ‡: The 17-year-old is known in Serbia as Little Kaká due to creative abilities and flair on the pitch. Usually playing on the right or as an attacking midfielder, Adem has also been linked with a move to Manchester United. He was on trial with the club in October of 2008. He has played in eight league matches for Partizan this season scoring once. When he turns 18 next September, he just might end up with his fellow Serbians in Manchester.
Sean Grybos operates Soccer City FC where you can find commentary on leagues and clubs from around the globe.