Bournemouth should sign Marko Rog in January to bolster their midfield
Along with Tin Jedvaj and Duje Caleta-Car, Marko Rog is one of the brightest prospects of the upcoming generation of Croatian footballers. A youth product of Croatian club Varazdin, Rog played for his boyhood club, RNK Split and Dinamo Zagreb before making a move to the bigger stage with Napoli back in 2016.
The 23-year-old made his senior international debut back in 2014 and was a part of the squad that took part in the 2016 European Championships held in France. However, lack of regular minutes at Napoli in the 2017-18 season saw him miss out on a place in Croatia’s 2018 World Cup squad.
The Croatian made 28 substitute appearances in the Serie A last term but Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival has seen him get more starts. Rog has made 9 appearances for Napoli in the Serie A this term, four of which have been starts.
Standing at just a shade under 6ft., Rog can be deceptive with his small frame. A combative midfielder by trade, he has exceptional upper body strength and appreciable body balance, attributes which make it difficult for the opposition to dispossess him easily.
Essentially a central defensive midfielder by trade, Rog likes to sit in front of the back four in a deep position in the middle of the park. His withdrawn role in the midfield allows him to use his game reading, anticipation and sharpness to win the ball back for his team with crucial tackles and interceptions.
Rog has a decent technique and knows how to use the ball well. He is comfortable with the ball at his feet and his passing, at times, can be as creative as a No. 10. Known for his work ethic and stamina, the 23-year-old likes to combine his skill sets with his strength and determination to embark on powerful driving runs through the opposition’s defence.
He can also drift wide to supply balls into the area. In other words, he is a utility player who can provide an attacking outlet as well apart from discharging his defensive duties.
To put things into perspective, he would be a perfect fit for any team in the Premier League. Although he is a player with potential, he needs to make a move to a mid-table team like Bournemouth where he would get more regular minutes.
Bournemouth have faded a bit after enjoying a strong start to the season and the Cherries need some fresh faces in January to recover the lost momentum.
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While Callum Wilson, Josh King, Ryan Fraser and David Brooks continue to remain the mainstays of the team’s attack, Eddie Howe’s side certainly need a quality central midfielder to complement Jefferson Lerma in the centre of the park.
In recent weeks, Bournemouth have allowed the opposition to keep hold of the ball and make the play, which has largely been down to the absence of a top quality combative midfielder.
And someone like Marko Rog will be an upgrade on the likes of Andrew Surman, Lewis Cook and Dan Gosling. That said, the Cherries should go all out to land him in January to stabilize their midfield.