Saturday, October 31, 2020

Milot Rashica – turning heads in the Midlands

Milot Rashica is a 23-year-old attacking midfielder/winger, currently representing Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga. His performances this season have been turning heads all over the continent, not least in the Midlands as Aston Villa keep a keen eye on the Kosovan.

Bio

Born in Northern Kosovo, under the banner of the old Yugoslavia, Rashica spent much of his early career representing his home town club of Vushtrria. He did have a trial period at Gent back in 2013 and impressed enough to get himself a contract offer, but he turned it down in favour of staying with home side. Rashica made his professional debut aged 16 – he would go on to represent Vushtrria 21 times, scoring nine goals.

In 2014, Rashica signed for the Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem on a trial basis – wherein he would represent the clubs youth side for six months. In February 2015, he was offered a three year professional contract with the Dutch outfit. He would make his debut for Vitesse against English side Southampton in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League – a game his side would go on to lose 3-0.

Rashica stayed at Vitesse for three years, turning out in the famous yellow and black 83 times, scoring 15 goals. Following that, at the age of 21, he signed for Werder Bremen for a reported fee of £6.5million. His debut for the German outfit came as he was named in the starting lineup in a 2-1 away win against Schalke.

International-wise, Rashica represented Albania at under-17, under-19, under-21 and senior level. However, despite making two appearances for the Albanian senior team, he announced he was switching his representation to Kosovo in August 2016. Since then, he has made 24 appearances for his national side, scoring four goals.

Milot Rashica season so far

This season, the 23-year-old has really started to come into his own. Playing mostly off the left for Florian Kohfeldt’s Bremen side, he’s been an integral part of the attack. In 14 appearances so far this term, he has bagged an impressive nine goals and three assists – making him the top scorer and the second top assist provider in the team.

Unfortunately for him, his goals and assist haven’t been enough to stop the slide of Bremen – the famous old German side are currently occupying the relegation play-off spot, down in 16th position in the table. In their last two games, Bremen have shipped 11 (ELEVEN) goals, scoring just one – guess who scored the one…

What next?

As I said at the top, Rashica has gained admirers around the continent with his play so far, but if the British media are to be believed, Aston Villa are in pole position to pick him up in January. However, when asked about a potential move, Rashica told German media that Bremen’s fans “have nothing to worry about at the moment”.

However, he refused to rule out a summer move – so it could be that we Villa fans have to wait until the summer to see the Kosovan turn out in the claret and blue. When asked if he was thinking ahead to the summer, Rashica said “No, it’s too early for that. My job is to play well and score goals. There are people who take care of what happens off the pitch.”

The other concern is that Rashica is at his most effective off the left wing, which if you’re a Villa fan, you’ll know is most definitely Jack Grealish’s place in the team. So, if he does come in, where will he play? Perhaps on the right wing in place of Trezeguet or Anwar El Ghazi? Maybe in a more attacking midfield position? It’ll be interesting to see how Dean Smith will use him if the deal happens – and trust me Villains, it’s a deal you want to happen.

The final question to be asked is the transfer fee – at the moment, TransferMarkt value the player at £31.5million, but BuLiNews.com are reporting that Bremen will demand somewhere between €40-50million – a fee most likely to put off a team like Villa who spent over £100m in the summer just gone.

*All statistics and transfer fees taken from transfermarkt.com.

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