Lovre Kalinic Hajduk Split Loan
“We are delighted to be signing someone of Lovre’s experience and quality. He is an outstanding goalkeeper,” said Dean Smith on his first Aston Villa signing. Two years later and with only eight games under his belt and Kalinic is once again off out on loan.
Kalinic will join the Croatian side Hajduk Split on 18th January when their transfer window opens.
Despite expectations that the 6ft 7 Croatian international would solve Villa’s goalkeeping issues at the time and become the number one, the club have had to dip into each of the three subsequent transfer windows to get a keeper in – Tom Heaton, Pepe Reina and Emiliano Martínez, have all followed.
It hasn’t been an ideal situation for the club in terms of wasted transfer fees and wages (especially when you consider the combined fees spent on Nyland and Kalinic of circa £10m), but ultimately a journey worth taking, considering Villa have ended up with both Heaton and Martinez in their ranks.
For Kalinic, he returns to the club where he made his professional breakthrough after coming through the youth ranks. It’s the kind of romantic return that players normally have at the twilight of their career, so the player, aged 30, will no doubt be concerned with his current career trajectory.
The reality is that Hajduk Split are currently a middle-table Croatian team, sitting fifth in the Croatian top tier of ten teams; 16 points behind the top two clubs Dynamo Zagreb and Osijek.
For Kalinic, he’s now having to rebuild his career at the club that first sparked it into life.