He was touted as one of the most exciting youngsters in Europe. And he was on his way to Manchester United. But things did not go according to plan for Adem Ljajic.
As reported by the BBC, United had an agreement in place to sign the then-18-year-old in January 2010. For £10million, Sir Alex Ferguson was set to work with yet another talented midfielder.
Why the move fell through is uncertain, with Mike Phelan telling the BBC it was due to work permit issues and Partizan Belgrade citing a “financial crisis” at the club.
Zoran Tosic had already made the move to Old Trafford as part of the two-player deal and both men were photographed holding United shirts. Yet Lajic, despite training with the first-team, never followed.
Now 28, the former United target is being linked with a belated move to the Premier League.
According to Fanatic, West Bromwich Albion want the midfielder this summer.
Better late than never
Ljajic was one of many wonder-kids tipped to have the world at his feet.
Had that £10million move to United gone through, who knows how successful he would have been. After all, he would have been playing alongside the likes of Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes.
There are few better players to learn from than that pair. But Ljajic’s career took an upward turn despite his failed move to England.
The Serbian international found a new home in Italy and set about proving what United had missed out on.
Operating predominantly as an attacking midfielder – with brief forays to the left wing – Ljajic played for some of Serie A’s biggest clubs.
After 53 goals and 46 assists in Italy, Ljajic headed to Besiktas, scoring 16 goals and setting up 21 more in 61 outings to date. And now there is talk of a move to England.
Given his creativity and his eye for goal, it is no surprise Premier League clubs are interested. It would also make sense if the one-time United target is looking to prove a point.
Tosic barely played at United and was ultimately shown the door. One wonders if things would have been different for Ljajic at Old Trafford.
There is no doubting his ability and United fans may be watching Ljajic’s performances closely if he completes his mooted move this summer.