Milos Krasic was linked to Manchester United two seasons ago but instead headed west to Turin. Now ostracised by Juventus coach Antonio Conte, could the silky Serbian reignite his career at White Hart Lane?
If you are talking about the wrong player at the wrong club at the wrong time then look no further than Milos Krasic, who has been frozen out of first-team contention of late by Juventus coach Antonio Conte.
The only flying the winger will be doing very soon is out of Turin and off to wide-open pastures anew, which brings the Premier League side into the picture. The Serbia international has been linked with United in the recent past when he was a CSKA Moscow player but his agent decided that Italy would be more suited to his talents, yet have now apparently offered him to a stuttering Liverpool in desperate need of creativity from the wide areas.
How wrong they have been in a league that is no home for out and out wide men but rather variants on the theme – players who are expected to work back and cover rather than marauding down the flank looking for the byline, whipping crosses into the middle and then admiring their handy work.
Krasic, for his part, likes to race off in one direction, very rarely looking up with his shaggy blonde hair hanging over his face until he invariably loses possession – a crime that has ensured that tongue lashings await him from sergeant-major Conte.
Krasic has failed to detect no more than a ciao and a grazie in his 18 months in the country – and it is not just in mastering the lingo that he has been lost in translation.
The 26-year-old was hailed as the new Pavel Nedved when he landed in Turin after the 2010 World Cup but the comparisons have been as wide of the mark as some of his shooting. The dynamic runs that had been a feature of his game in Russia were very rarely seen as he faded out of games to become a mere bystander whilst the action continued all around.
Krasic has looked a more and more isolated figure, disappearing into his oversized warm-up jacket as he lolls on the bench.
His problem in Serie A is that he has failed to adapt to a style of play where even Leo Messi would find it difficult to get past two men before being dumped to the ground. Setting off with the ball at your feet from deep inside your own half with the hope of evading flailing boots is going to get you and your team into difficulty.
He didn’t help his cause in his first season by blatantly diving on too many occasions when on the receiving end of the slightest of touches, most appallingly in one notorious incident when he threw himself to the ground against Bologna to win a penalty. A subsequent two-game ban did little to dampen his relish for falling over all too easily.
There is no doubt that Conte has all but given up on instilling some sense of team ethic into a player who likes to think of himself as a bit of a maverick or, more cynically, someone in possession of an over-developed ego.
The writing was on the wall in pre-season training when cameras caught the coach berating the winger endlessly for not playing the give and go ball - and then during a particularly hard-fought win at Siena early in the campaign attempting to fire the shambling-looking substitute up before his entrance only for Krasic to shrug his shoulders and Conte turn to Alex Del Piero instead.
With the likes of Simone Pepe, Emanuele Giaccherini and of late Marcelo Estigarribia following Conte’s team before self orders to the tee, Krasic has looked a more and more isolated figure, disappearing into his oversized warm-up jacket as he lolls on the bench.
A change of scenery come January would be just the sort of wake-up call a career that could be in danger of stalling badly needs but Krasic is no Barnes or Nedved, for that matter, so if one has to draw a comparison then it would be more in keeping with another flier from the east: Andrei Kanchelskis.
Like the Russian, Krasic would thrive with a more direct approach where he is allowed to bolt straight out of the traps with the ball at his feet to ensure that opposition full-backs are not having an easy ride. But for as long as he stays in Turin the brakes will be on.
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