Chelsea have snapped up highly-rated Croatian under-21 international Mario Pašalić, The Daily Mail has confirmed.
The 19-year-old midfielder was also reported to be attracting interest from Liverpool and Chelsea’s London rivals Tottenham, but the Blues moved quickly to finalise a transfer from Hajduk Split rumoured to be worth around £3 million.
Pašalić made his debut for Hajduk towards the end of the 2012/13 season, however it was the 2013/14 season that saw him announce himself as a real prospect. He made 36 appearances in all competitions, scoring 11 goals as Hajduk finished third in the Croatian top flight and secured Europa League qualification.
The teenager’s domestic form attracted the attention of national team boss Niko Kovač who included Pašalić in his player pool for the World Cup in Brazil, though ultimately he was not selected for the final squad.
Pašalić, who was born in Mainz, Germany, has been described by some as ‘the new Luka Modric’, but it is a former Chelsea player who the youngster looks up to most. “My favourite player is Frank Lampard, and so I am very happy to be a Chelsea player,” he told the club’s official website.
It is likely that Pašalić will be sent out on loan to gain further senior experience, but he is looking forward to the future whatever it may bring. “I must thank everybody at Hajduk. This is now a new start in my career,” he said.
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