Tosic and Ljajic not yet United class
Speculation that Manchester United are after Serbia winger Zoran Tosic has gained momentum after reports that Sir Alex Ferguson had gone to some length to obtain a work permit for the 21-year old Partizan Belgrade player.
Tosic, who has made 12 international appearances but is yet to score for his country, is a decent player with a sweet left foot from set pieces but he appeared to be as stunned as many of my colleagues here in Belgrade after being told that Ferguson sees him as an ideal long-term replacement for Ryan Giggs.
“It’s fantastic to know that such a great coach speaks so highly of my abilities and I am truly honoured that he has so much faith in me,” Tosic told Belgrade’s daily newspapers.
Can a player yet to be tried and tested at top level fill Giggs’s boots on United’s left flank?
Will he, if United sign him, turn out to be a real asset like compatriot Nemanja Vidic or merely a fringe player?
Tosic’s diminutive and frail-looking posture suggests he could find it very difficult to adapt to the physical exertions and torrid pace of the Premier League. Croatia playmaker Luka Modric certainly found it tough at Tottenham.
United are reportedly also interested in Tosic’s 17-year old Partizan team mate Adem Ljajic, who recently broke into the first team and scored on his full debut after a 10-day trial at Old Trafford in October.
Although Ljajic has shown glimpses of extraordinary talent, he is still a far cry from living up to the billing of being “the Serbian Kaka”.
Both Tosic and Ljajic need a far more competitive environment than Serbia’s ramshackle 12-team league for any judgment to be passed and United’s board may well keep that in mind when the January transfer window opens.
PHOTO: Partizan Belgrade’s Zoran Tosic is seen in Belgrade in this Nov 12, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Ivan Milutinovic