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Five things to know about Bosko Sutalo, Standard’s fourth summer signing

Five things to know about Bosko Sutalo, Standard's fourth summer signing

It has been official since Monday late morning, Bosko Sutalo is Standard’s fourth summer signing. Discover five things to know about the new Rouches centre-back.

After Marko Bulat, Grejohn Kyei and Boli Bolingoli, Bosko Sutalo is officially, since Monday morning, Standard’s fourth summer signing. The Croatian arrived on a free transfer from Dinamo Zagreb and has signed a five-year contract on the banks of the Meuse. Here are five things to know about the former Atalanta player, who is coming to reinforce Liège’s defensive line.

An eternal prospect in search of confirmation… (1)

In the Under-16s, for the first time in his young career, Bosko Sutalo was called up to the Croatian Under-16 national team. He went through all the ranks, playing for the Under-18s, Under-19s and Under-21s. The defender played two full qualifying campaigns for the Under-21 European Championship, played one in 2021 but, injured, he could only regain his place in the starting line-up in the quarter-finals, which Croatia lost on penalties to Spain.

Captain during the second campaign, Bosko Sutalo was promised a great future with the national team. With the international retirement of Dejan Lovren and the gradual decline of Domagoj Vida, an opportunity was about to present itself and Bosko Sutalo was in pole position to seize it. Unfortunately, injuries have got in the way…

… that injuries have not helped (2)

Because while Bosko Sutalo is a football player with a lot of talent, recurring injuries are, for the moment, a major obstacle to his career. Since his professional debut in 2019-2020, the player born on 1 January 2000 has accumulated 309 days of absence due to physical setbacks. Almost a full year.

Sutalo suffered his biggest injury in August 2022, with Dinamo Zagreb against Šibenik. After half an hour, alone, he fractured his fibula and ruptured several ankle ligaments. After an operation, he did not make his comeback until six months later. Last season, Bosko Sutalo missed 62 days of competition due to an ankle injury, between mid-December and mid-February.

A profile that Standard needed… for several reasons (3-4)

With the departures of Bokadi, Laifis, Dewaele, Vanheusden and Panzo, Standard had to seriously strengthen themselves defensively… and across the width of the pitch. With Sutalo, the Rouches went looking for a centre-back by training, who is also capable of deputising as a full-back.

This is how he revealed himself in Croatia. Whether in the Under-19s or the Under-21s, Bosko Sutalo was very often used as a right-back for the Under-21 national team. It is also a position in which he has deputised three times at Hellas Verona, in Serie A, under the orders of a certain Igor Tudor, as well as once at Atalanta, with Gasperini.

Then, whether last season or in the preparation match against Dender, Standard had a lot of difficulty getting the ball out of their own half of the pitch cleanly. Too few players on the move, but also too few players capable of breaking a line with a pass, or who do not play the easy option too often, but ineffectively by systematically passing back to one side or backwards.

In this sense, Bosko Sutalo should bring added value. The 1m88 player has a technique well above average for a central defender, and his personal statistics prove it. A good player in ground interceptions and passing, but who does not have very good statistics in aerial duels. A necessary profile that was missing in Liège’s defensive line.

An integration facilitated by Ivan Leko… and Marko Bulat (5)

Of course, Ivan Leko is far from being a stranger to Standard’s transfer window. With two Croatian players and one of his former protégés, the T1 is fully involved in Liège’s recruitment. A serious advantage for the two Croatian recruits.

Moreover, Sutalo and Bulat are two players who already know each other very well. The two men have played twenty matches together: eight for the Under-21 national team, twelve for Dinamo Zagreb. In their very first match together, against Macedonia Under-19s, Bulat even provided an assist to Sutalo from a corner. An important goal, as the Croatian hopefuls shared the spoils.

Written by James Oyimb

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