Sporting Gijón is a great opportunity for Halilovic to find himself
You don’t have to dig very deep to realize that last season wasn’t easy for Alen Halilovic. It was easy to see which emotions the Croatian displayed during his first preseason in Blaugrana and face them with the ones he showed in the second one, which finished a month ago. What used to be an illusion, excitement and even some senselessness transformed into a more scared and frightened drawing of the young idol from Dubrovnik. Consequences of the first sizeable setback from someone who has always been a premature star. Halilovic had to lose two battles in Barcelona. The individual one was related to his failed move from the wing to the midfield, in a squad that gave him a hard time while not giving him a clear partner up front to help him, and putting the strong Adama Traoré in his same side. In the collective sense, a team with a bunch of problems appeared, one that didn’t know how to find a stable way to play on which Allen could properly adapt. Two defeats that, being barely 18 years old, punished the trust of a boy who has been watched almost from the cradle.
He arrives now to Abelardo’s Sporting, and the scenario seems proper that both can benefit from. Both need each other qualities. Gijón is a humble project and a young team that relies heavily on defensive solidness. It was, by a significant difference, the team that conceded the least in Liga Adelante (only 27 goals in 42 matches) and after its first three games in the top level, Ivan Cuéllar’s only had to pick the ball from the net once. On offense, their aim is vertical but they sometimes lack clarity in the final third. Halilovic can change that. The player that, without changing the pace of Sporting’s attack, gives it an extra touch to enlighten it. A conductor in the last third that draws attention, changes of rhythm from the right or, simply being able to organize attacks. Around him, Jony from the left and Toni Sanabria, a playmaker able to activate the team’s second line, could become reliable partners for the Croatian kid. If everything fits and Abelardo manages to give the player the form he doesn’t have yet, Sporting will find a piece they’re missing, and Halilovic, a place where to find himself again and Barça, a greenhouse to grow his young talent.
Translator: Daniel Ramos