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Once touted as a replacement for the legendary Juninho at Lyon, Miralem Pjanić has certainly taken a liking to life in Rome. Playing alongside the likes of Totti, Ljajic, Gervinho and De Rossi has certainly brought the best out of the Bosnian attacking midfielder this season. The Bosnian has been one of the pivotal cogs in the AS Roma machine that has taken many by surprise in the Serie A.
Although he was born in Bosnia, Pjanić grew up in Luxembourg and started his footballing career there with FC Schifflange 95 at the age of seven. From a very young age, his style of play attracted many Belgian, Dutch, German clubs.
In the end, he agreed to join French club FC Metz at the age of 14. He slowly came up the ranks and made his professional debut aged 17 against Paris Saint-Germain. The 2007/08 season was a bittersweet experience for the Bosnian. Although he was in sublime form since making his debut and was even nominated for the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year, Metz were still relegated.
After interest from several top European clubs, Pjanić joined Olympique Lyonnais on a five-year contract. His time at Lyon though, was short-lived as the club were going through a barren run and were without several key stars. After just three seasons with the club, Pjanić joined Roma on a four-year deal in August 2011, in a deal that was reportedly worth €11 million. (His current market value according to Transfermarkt.co.uk is £17.5m) After starting on the bench for most of his first two seasons, the Bosnian finally got a regular run in the first team this time around and the club is reaping its rewards.
Primarily used as an attacking midfielder, the 24-year-old Bosnian has the ability to beat his man not just using tricks but also through a cleverly executed pass. Early in his career, with the Metz, Pjanić was a more all-action attacking midfielder, but with age, he has matured greatly and his composure with the ball at his feet is second to none.
With a vast array of passes in his arsenal the Bosnian can play on the wings as well and not just centrally. However, since his game isn’t dependent on pace, he uses his vision and intelligence to get the job done. His acute positional awareness means that he is always ready to play the perfect pass to a team-mate running in on goal.
Pjanić’s ability on the ball is arguably his biggest strength. Whether through his bedazzling ball control, precise passing or his sometimes arrogant dribbling, his ability to make the ball stick to his feet at all times is something very few possess. His goal against AC Milan two weeks ago, when dribbled past Sulley Muntari, Riccardo Montolivo, and Adil Rami before putting the ball in the right side of the net demonstrated his dazzling dribbling skills.
Another of his biggest strengths is his willingness to press high up the pitch and win the ball in opponent’s half. Fleet of foot and of mind, Pjanić is certainly an offensive threat that can hurt you in a variety of ways. One of his most under-rated qualities is his set-piece ability, thanks to which he is equally capable of scoring and setting up a team-mate.
Finding a fault in the Bosnian’s game is tougher than finding a needle in a hay stack. Having said, given his skill on the ball, his goal scoring outfit is fairly low for an attacking midfielder. And for all that he has done this season, he still only has 6 League goals to his credit, something he can surely work on. Another probable weakness is his temperament. Sometimes the Bosnian can get carried away and accrue needless cards.
With the Bosnian coming to the end of his contract in the summer of 2015, a lot of clubs have been queuing up to secure his signature. And a good World Cup for Bosnia would only further enhance his credentials, which has already seen him linked with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Barcelona.
Technical, intelligent and composed, the 24-year-old Bosnian would certainly be a welcome addition to most midfields looking for an all-round attacking threat. Capable of dictating the tempo from deep and near the attacking-third, Pjanić would fit right into any Premier League team looking for a young, creative attacking midfielder.