Arsenal Reportedly to Fight Tottenham for Alen Halilovic Transfer in January

Leigh WalshCorrespondent INovember 19, 2013

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - JUNE 10:  Alen Halilovic of Croatia fights for the ball with Adelino Vieirinha of Portugal during the international friendly match between Portugal and Croatia on June 10, 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland.  (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

Arsenal look set to join the race for highly rated Croatian youngster Alen Halilovic, according to Ben Jefferson of the Daily Express

The 17-year-old has been the subject of interest from Tottenham Hotspur, and there were reports circulating over the summer that a deal was close to being completed, per John Drayton of the Daily Mail.

However, Jefferson notes two obstacles that could harm Spurs' pursuit:

Halilovic's agent Shay Chen insists that current club Dinamo Zagreb are demanding too high a fee for the 17-year-old but the alternative reports suggest that the player's father may be blocking a move by demanding guarantees about playing time.

JEONJU, SOUTH KOREA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Alen Halilovic of Croatia competes for the ball with Kim Young-Gwon and Han Kook-Young of South Korea during the international friendly match between South Korea and Croatia at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium on September
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

The Croatian teenager has also been linked with Bayern Munich and CSKA Moscow, but Jefferson reports that it is Wenger’s youth policy at Arsenal that could swing the deal in favour of the Gunners.

Jack Wilshere, Wojciech Szczesny, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson are just some of the players who have emerged from the underage teams at Arsenal to appear for the first team. 

It is thought that Spurs had planned to sign Halilovic with the intentions of putting him into their youth setup, while Bayern’s abundance of riches in midfield would have kept him on the sidelines in Munich also. 

According to Sky Sports, the midfielder—who has been compared with Luka Modric, per Drayton's article—would likely cost somewhere in the region of £12 million. 

Halilovic became the second-youngest player to compete in the Champions League when he lined out for Zagreb against Paris Saint-Germain in October 2012—per Aleksandar Holiga of FourFourTwo.

He was also part of the Croatian team that competed at the Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, but he made little impact. The Croats failed to advance from their group after defeats to Uzbekistan and Morocco.

Halilovic has also made his full debut for the senior side, lining out in the chequered shirt for a friendly match against Portugal at just 16 years of age.