Should Manchester United Sign Bargain Basement Bosnian Muhamed Besic?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJune 26, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 15:  Lionel Messi of Argentina dribbles past Muhamed Besic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to score his team's second goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group F match between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina at Maracana on June 15, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Could Ferencvaros' Bosnia and Herzegovina international Muhamed Besic—a 21-year-old, 5'11", 172-pound defensive midfielder—be a cheap summer transfer window target for Manchester United?

To cover that hypothetical question, here is a scouting report on Besic.


Besic Positives

A commanding midfielder with a polished passing game and instinctive ball-winning attributes, Besic has been a breakout star at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Poised in possession, Bosnia and Herzegovina's meaningful plays went through Besic. 

Passing direction;
 Passes Per GamePass Completion %Long Passes Per GameLong Pass Completion %
Blaise Matuidi56.391.11.075
Daniele De Rossi106928.585
Javier Mascherano94.792.312.392.5
Muhamed Besic74.3919.390.3
Philipp Lahm8290.96.5100

Being statistically comparable to world-class footballers in Matuidi, De Rossi, Mascherano and Lahm tells you Besic has the talent to succeed at a higher level than the Hungarian First League.

Besic's average positioning and his passing distribution against Argentina, Nigeria and Iran demonstrated that he plays the No. 6 role to a tee with Claude Makelele-esque discipline. 

vs. Argentina;

vs. Nigeria;

vs. Iran;

Active and high-motored, Besic possesses world-class endurance. 

He led Bosnia and Herzegovina in total distance covered.

Another distinctive feature in Besic's game is his capacity to take the ball past opposing players to generate space.

Besic was Bosnia and Herzegovina's most valuable player at the World Cup.


Besic Negatives

Besic was the fourth-choice centre-back behind Heiko Westermann, Joris Mathijsen and Gojko Kacar at Hamburg.  

Kicker rank Bundesliga players on a scale of one to six with one being the best and six the worst.

In Besic's two starts for Hamburg during the 2010-11 season, he received two fives starting at centre-back.

Performance aside, Besic struggled with discipline at Hamburg, per Sasa Ibrulj at ESPN FC

Besic was considered one of the best prospects in Bosnian football.

However, things drastically changed in the next two years. 

His HSV career stretched to only three appearances in the Bundesliga.

An alleged conflict with Thorsten Fink, the club's coach at the time, resulted in a suspension and saw him [Besic] eventually shipped out to Hungarian side Ferencvaros on a free transfer.

Besic playing in Hungary is a worry.

He is not tried and tested.

As much hate United central midfielder Tom Cleverley receives, he has played 79 Premier League games since the 2010-11 season, whereas Besic has only played three league games in an elite European league during the same period. 


Bottom Line

Before you tweet: "[INSERT MAJOR EUROPEAN CLUB] must sign Besic," you need to be cognisant of a trend in lesser-known midfielders punching above their weight at a World Cup, only to later fall flat.   

During the 2010 World Cup, Ghana's then-23-year-old Rosenborg midfielder Anthony Annan was highlighted as an outstanding player by the FIFA technical study group, per

Annan has predominantly been a squad player since moving to Schalke. 

Four years earlier, the FIFA technical study group praised the "enormous work rate" of Togo's then-23-year-old Rot-Weiss Oberhausen utility player Moustapha Salifou, who had spent the season on loan at Stade Brestois 29per

Salifou was on the books of Aston Villa, which also serves as a pithy summary of his nondescript Premier League career. 

BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 04:  Moustapha Salifou of Aston Villa is tackled by Jason Price and John Spicer of Doncaster Rovers during the F.A Cup sponsored by E.on 4th round replay match between Aston Villa and Doncaster Rovers at Villa Park on
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

If you have been supporting United for the past 12 years, the player you are thinking about right now is Jose Kleberson, who played an invaluable role in Luiz Felipe Scolari's 2002 World Cup-winning Brazil side.

YOKOHAMA - JUNE 30:  Kleberson of Brazil is watched by Miroslav Klose of Germany during the Germany v Brazil, World Cup Final match played at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama, Japan on June 30, 2002. Brazil won 2-0. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Ge
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Then-United manager Sir Alex Ferguson provided insight into why he was wrong about Kleberson, per Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography:

We rushed down the path of buying in proven players, who we thought would match our standards right away. 

Kleberson, for example, was a World Cup winner with Brazil and was only 24.

The Kleberson signing came after he had excelled for Brazil at the 2002 World Cup.

He was still playing in his homeland when we signed him. But he was an example of the risks associated with making a purchase in a hurry.  He was so timid, and could barely look you in the eye.

He had good ability, Kleberson, but he paid too much attention to what his father-in-law and wife wanted.

CUIABA, BRAZIL - JUNE 21:  Muhamed Besic of Bosnia and Herzegovina tackles Juwon Oshaniwa during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Group F match between Nigeria and Bosnia-Herzegovina at Arena Pantanal on June 21, 2014 in Cuiaba, Brazil.  (Photo by Phil Walter/Gett
Phil Walter/Getty Images

Besic has been a star for Bosnia and Herzegovina, but three World Cup games is a small sample size. 

Though, Besic displayed incredible upside anchoring Bosnia and Herzegovina's midfield, which is a position United need to reinforce in the summer transfer window. 

Ander Herrera is set to be United's big-money signing, per Sky Sports, which can be supplemented by adding Besic to the squad. 

Besic will be cheap. 

Why? He plays for Ferencvaros, a team with no leverage in the transfer market. 

If United can sign Besic for around £1.5 million, which was the amount Ferencvaros received from West Bromwich Albion for Zoltan Gera in 2004, it would be a calculated gamble worth taking. 



Statistics via


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