Tin Jedvaj: Why Bayer Leverkusen Prised Rising Star Away from Roma

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJanuary 22, 2015

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09: Tin Jedvaj of Bayer Leverkusen during the pre season friendly match between Southampton and Bayer Leverkusen at St Mary's Stadium on August 9, 2014 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Robin Parker/Getty Images)
Robin Parker/Getty Images

Bayer Leverkusen have extended 19-year-old Croatian defender Tin Jedvaj's loan from Roma into a permanent deal. 

If you are wondering how Jedvaj went from Roma's cash-cow to being briskly sold to Bayer Leverkusen, here is a thorough explanation.

In 2013, Roma signed Jedvaj, then a 17-year-old prospect from Dinamo Zagreb, for €5/£3.8 million.

It was a significant investment as it was comparable to the €5.7/£4.3 million Roma paid to Corinthians for Marquinhos.

Serie AMarquinhos (2012-13)Tin Jedvaj (2013-14)
Games Played262
Starting % Games Involved84.650
Minutes Per Game80.848.5
Credit: WhoScored.com.

Unlike Marquinhos, who started as a Roma rookie, Jedvaj was a squad player.

Jedvaj featured in 5.3 percent of Roma's Italian Serie A campaign (2/38) and started 50 percent of games he was involved in (one start, one substitute appearance).

You would think sitting on the bench for 76.3 percent of the league season (29/38) may have forced Jedvaj to fantasise about what it would have been like to play for Tottenham Hotspur.

Rewind to pre-Roma signing Jedvaj.

Dinamo Zagreb president Mirko Barisic disclosed Jedvaj and Alen Halilovic were set to join Tottenham Hotspur.

"Tin and Alen will go to Tottenham Hotspur, but no-one can guarantee that," Barisic said, per Jure Bohoric at Sky Sports. "I can also reveal that there are many clubs after both of them, there is not a club from the top 20 in Europe that didn't ask us about them."

Though, Tottenham Hotspur baulked at the proposed €22.6/£17.3 million packaged deal.

Barisic was not bluffing when he claimed he had alternative options.

Halilovic went to Barcelona for €2.2/£1.7 million and Jedvaj was sold to Roma for €5/£3.8 million.

This is the context behind seeds of doubt possibly being planted into Jedvaj's mind as he attempted to cope with being on the outside looking in.

Roma placated Jedvaj's concerns by loaning him to Bayer Leverkusen for two seasons

League OnlyTin Jedvaj (Roma)Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen)
Games Played214
Starting % Games Involved5085.7
Minutes Per Game48.579.1
Credit: WhoScored.com.

At Roma, Jedvaj started 50 percent of games he was involved in.

This has increased to 85.7 percent at Bayer Leverkusen (12 starts, two substitute appearances).

Jedvaj has featured in 82.4 percent of Bayer Leverkusen's German Bundesliga season (14/17), a 77.1 percent increase compared to last season at Roma.

Invariably, Jedvaj announced he did not want to return to Roma.

"I would like to stay at Bayer Leverkusen after the expiration of the loan," Jedvaj said, per Sportske novosti (h/t RomaPress.us). "Yes, the [Bundesliga] is better [than Serie A]."

It confirmed what Il Messaggero (h/t Football Italia) had revealed earlier: Jedvaj wanted out of his Roma contract.

Instead of Jedvaj forcing Roma's hand once he became a Bayer Leverkusen starter, go back and look at the terms of his loan. 

Here are the two pertinent facts you need to know, per ASRoma.it:

  • Roma allowed Bayer Leverkusen to negotiate a right to buy Jedvaj outright.
  • However, Roma had the option to counter Bayer Leverkusen's purchase clause.

If Roma rated Jedvaj, they would not have allowed Bayer Leverkusen any scope to turn the loan into a permanent deal.

Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller even haggled Roma on Jedvaj's transfer value.

"We are negotiating with Roma and we have a good relationship with them," Voller said, per Bild (h/t Football Italia). "[But Roma's] demand for €10/£7.7 million is not realistic."

Voller, a Roma Hall of Fame member, negotiated a €7/£5.4 million transfer fee for Jedvaj.

Letting Voller lower Jedvaj's asking fee by €3/£2.3 million is alarming behaviour from Roma, especially after the Marquinhos precedent.

FootballerProfit
Marquinhos€25.7/£19.8M
Tin Jedvaj€2/£1.6M
Credits: Omnisport (h/t SBS), Reuters and Transfermarkt.com.

Settling for a €2/£1.6 million profit—talk about small potatoesindicates to you that Roma might believe Jedvaj has peaked. 

Not even exercising the option to counter Bayer Leverkusen's bid is a red flag from Roma.

That leeway enabled Real Madrid to re-sign Daniel Carvajal from Bayer Leverkusen.

"We always knew right from the very start that Real Madrid would recognise [Carvajal's] sporting value sooner or later," Voller said, per the Bundesliga.com. "He's been so convincing this season that Real Madrid's decision does not surprise us in the least."

BundesligaDaniel Carvajal (2012-13)Tin Jedvaj (2014-15)
Tackles Per Game3.41.9
Tackle Success %78.676.5
Tackles Per Foul2.41.4
Interceptions Per Game3.73.1
Passes Per Game43.631.5
Key Passes Per Game1.50.4
Pass Success %79.870.1
Credit: WhoScored.com.

Carvajal at Bayer Leverkusen was a stronger tackler and more efficient in possession than Jedvaj, who has interchanged across the back line.  

Kicker ranking Carvajal as the 41st-best footballer of the 2012-13 Bundesliga season, 62 places ahead of Jedvaj's current ranking (103) shows you the gap in quality between their first seasons at Bayer Leverkusen. 

Bayer Leverkusen enabled Carvajal to demonstrate his world-class upside as a right-back, whereas Jedvaj is still figuring out his identity. 

Bundesliga StartsRBCBLB
Daniel Carvajal100%0%0%
Tin Jedvaj50%41.7%8.3%
Credit: WhoScored.com.

Credit: instagram.com/tinjedvaj16.

Jedvaj's best moment for Bayer Leverkusen is not a defensive one.

It was making a deep run, latching on to Bayer Leverkusen centre-forward Stefan Kiessling's pass, and smashing a rocket-like shot past Werder Bremen goalkeeper Raphael Wolf in a 3-3 draw.

Bayer Leverkusen will probably sugar-coat Jedvaj being moved around the back line as a sign of his versatility.

In reality, he is a defensive liability.

  • Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 Hertha Berlin: Misjudging Hertha Berlin centre-forward Julian Schieber's pass, Jedvaj slid the ball past Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno for an own goal.
  • Bayer Leverkusen 3-3 Werder Bremen: Did not communicate effectively which was why Jedvaj ended up marking both Werder Bremen substitute Izet Hajrovic and centre-back Sebastian ProdlJedvaj switched to HajrovicProdl scored.
  • Wolfsburg 4-1 Bayer Leverkusen: Instead of clearing the ball, Jedvaj lost his footing, allowing Wolfsburg defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo to win the ball. Gustavo passed the ball to Wolfsburg substitute Aaron Hunt, whose initial shot rebounded off the late Junior Malanda (rest in peace) and back into Hunt's path, who scored on his second attempt.
  • Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 Schalke: Jedvaj was red-carded after recklessly lunging into Schalke substitute Jan Kirchhoff in front of referee Manuel Grafe.
  • Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt: Out of position, Jedvaj overcompensated, and hacked down Eintracht Frankfurt central midfielder Takashi Inui to concede a cheap penalty. Eintracht Frankfurt centre-forward Alexander Meier converted the ensuing spot-kick.

Roma watched Jedvaj day in, day out in training and monitored his performances at Bayer Leverkusen.

You can only surmise Roma were turned off by Jedvaj's high-risk defending and/or his character (he quit), which prompted the Giallorossi to cut bait.

Roma could be projecting Jedvaj's development to plateau, possibly classing him as an early bloomer, as was the case with the likes of Ante Vukusic, Marko Livaja, Sime Vrsaljko and Vedran Celjak. 

Bayer Leverkusen are taking a glass half-full approach, perhaps inspired by Ze Roberto, who abandoned Real Madrid and had a brief spell at Flamengo.

"I believe that if I'd have stayed [at Real Madrid] I'd have been a success," Ze Roberto said, per FIFA.com. "When I got the offer from Bayer Leverkusen, I convinced my wife that it was an opportunity that we might not get again."

If Jedvaj has a career as good as Ze Roberto's, the Croatian will be able to have the gravitas to say he could have hypothetically been a success at Roma.

"Tin Jedvaj has great potential and has consistently shown that in the few months he's been [at Bayer Leverkusen]," Voller said, per Bayer04.de. "His versatility will certainly pay off for us. So we decided to sign Tin straight away."

+allanjiang.

When not specified, statistics via WhoScored.com. 

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