In the hope of rediscovering his former self, Filip Djuricic is heading to Anderlecht. Despite Fiorentina’s interest, the right-footed Serbian has joined the Belgian side on loan from Benfica until the end of the season.
The Brussels’ based club - currently sitting third in the Jupiler Pro League - are in desperate need of creativity and flair in the attacking third. Therefore, their newest addition to the squad could be exactly what the doctor ordered.
A few years ago, Djuricic was one of Europe’s hottest prospects. Indeed, whilst wearing the white and blue of Heerenveen on 111 occasions, the young prodigy scored 26 goals in addition to providing 28 assists.
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During the 2012-2013 season, at the age of 21, he was even named third best player in the Dutch top tier (only Wilfried Bony and Christian Eriksen gathered more votes). His genius caught the eye of several clubs including Portuguese giants, Benfica, who eventually managed to lure him to Lisbon in 2013.
The fairy tale continued under Jorge Jesus, as the attacking midfielder found the back of the net on his debut in the Champions League against his new side Anderlecht. However, he was unable to kick on and force his way into the starting eleven on a regular basis.
Therefore, just 12 months after his arrival, Djuricic was loaned out to Mainz 05. The agreement also included a £9.5 million buy-out clause. Ultimately, the youngster made 12 below-par appearances for the Germans before the deal was cut-short.
He then moved to the south coast of England in February 2015 to join Southampton. Unfortunately, under Koeman’s leadership, the Serbian failed to put an end to his rapid fall from grace before returning as a squad-filler to Portugal.
Still, this latest move to a weaker league may allow him to reinvent himself. If given a license to roam behind the main striker, Djuricic’s vision, pinpoint deliveries and defence-splitting passes could provide the necessary ammunition for Stefano Okaka and Idrissa Sylla.
Furthermore, his link-up play with both Dennis Praet and Youri Tielemans could prove to be key in helping Anderlecht to their 34th title.