Marko Grujic has taken Europe by storm these last few months. It was only last season that Grujic was on-loan at second tier club, Kolubara, but it was even then that management at Red Star saw huge potential in the 6’3 kid from Belgrade. Grujic played only a handful of games at Kolubara-five to be exact-and managed to score two goals.
The 19 year old had a dual registration last season, which allowed him to play for Kolubara, but at the same time he could potentially get called up by Red Star at any point. Last season he was an unused sub in most of the matches because of the stiff competition he faced from other central midfielders who had more experience.
This summer, Marko was called up to the Serbian u-20 team that won the World Cup. Once again, Marko was sparingly used, but the coach would put the 19 year old into action when Serbia was in the lead and they needed a solid defensively minded midfielder to protect the result; Grujic played the role to perfection.
Once the Serbian league got underway this season, Grujic was a benchwarmer for the first two or three matches and was used very sparingly (he would sometimes be subbed in to once again protect the lead). In the fourth match of the season, Grujic got the start in a game that was won by Red Star by a score of 3:2. Since then Grujic has solidified himself as a starter in the middle of the pitch and has become one of the best players in the league hands down.
During the Eternal Derby vs hated rival, Partizan Belgrade, Red Star won by a score of 3:1. If it were not for two goal man, Hugo Vieira, Marko Grujic would have probably won Man of the Match. He was so composed during the match, that it seemed like it was a 10 year veteran out there, and not a 19 year old kid trying to make a name for himself. Since then, MANY teams have been rumoured to want the services of the Serbian u-21 midfielder.
Grujic has been dubbed “The new Matic”, but he has also received comparisons to Juventus midfielder, Paul Pogba. Personally, I like the Pogba comparison a little bit more. In Grujic’s case, he can play either as a defensive midfielder or as a central midfielder with less defensive duties, kind of like Pogba; whereas, Matic is at his best when he plays a defensive role. Grujic has shown on multiple occasions this season that he has a magnificent shot from distance (scored from about 30 yards out vs FK Rad) and his strength on the ball is second to none in the domestic league. His dribbling ability is also very good for a player who plays more of a defensive role, but that could be because of the lack of strength in the Serbian league from opposing players.
Where will he end up?
The list of clubs interested in Marko Grujic is longer than a child’s Christmas list. Giants such as: Juventus, Manchester United, Chelsea, PSG and Inter Milan have expressed their desire to sign the 19 year old, while second tier clubs such as: Ajax, Udinese, Sassuolo and Hamburg have also shown interest. In my opinion, Grujic does not leave Red Star this winter, probably not during the summer either, if Red Star wins the league and fights for a spot in Champion’s League. If Red Star does not qualify for neither Champion’s League, nor Europa League and the summer transfer window is still open, I think that Grujic will certainly leave. Right now teams are offering anywhere between 2.5 to 4 million euros for his services, but in the summer, it could be worth double that, if Grujic continues to grow and develop as a player.
As for where he will end up, that is very tough to say. Chelsea and Manchester United have shown the most interest in signing Grujic, but if Pogba leaves Juventus in the summer, I think Grujic will become a real option for the club from Turin. The smaller clubs such as: Sassuolo, Eintracht Frankfurt also have a chance at signing the 19 year old, but only if they can promise him playing time and/or a possible berth in Champion’s League or Europa League where he can showcase his talents once again.
In the end, I think it will truly come down to what Red Star does in Champion’s League qualifying. If the team is successful and does in fact qualify then I do not think that they will sell Grujic, instead they will keep him and watch his price sky rocket. The kid does not have many flaws in his game.
Here is a compilation of Marko Grujic’s goals, assists and other skills:
Ogi is a graduate of Humber College’s Sport Management program. He is the founder of Blago Blogger Sports.