With Mark Warburton confirmed as having held talks with Niko Kranjcar, what would Rangers be getting if the midfielder joined? The 31 year old has represented his country in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2008 and UEFA Euro 2012. He won 81 caps for the Croatia national team scoring 16 goals in the process. His latest match for the national team was on 15 Oct 13, but unfortunately he missed the 2014 FIFA World Cup due to injury.
His English career started on 31 Aug ’06, when Niko was brought over to the south coast to play for Portsmouth and sign for their charismatic manager Harry Redknapp. He transferred from Hajduk Split for a transfer fee of £3.5m on a three-year-deal. In his first year for the Pompey he played in 28 games in the Premiership and also made 7 appearances for Croatia.
In season 2007-08, and his second year playing at Fratton Park, Niko played in 10 games for Croatia, which included the Euro Championships, and featured in 42 games for Portsmouth, including the FA Cup win in May 2008.
In 2008-09, he continued playing in the Portsmouth first team and amassed another 25 games for them and scored 4 goals in the process.
Niko played his last 5 games for Portsmouth at the start of season 2009-10 and appeared in one game for Croatia before joining Tottenham Hotspur, on 1 Sep ’09 on a 3-year-deal that cost them £2.5m for his services. He played 32 games in his first part season for Spurs and scored a reasonable 8 goals into the bargain.
In his second season at White Hart Lane, in 2010-11, he played in 5 games for Croatia and scored 4 goals and also featured in 21 games for Spurs after picking up some injuries during that season.
In season 2011-12, Niko played another 6 games for Croatia and featured in only 18 games for what was to be his last year with Tottenham Hotspur.
In 2012-13 season, on 1 Jul ’12 he moved to the Ukraine to join up with Dynamo Kiev for a fee of £2m. He played 4 games for Croatia, played in 4 Champions League fixtures and 2 Europa Cups and 19 games in the Ukrainian League.
In 2013-14 season, on 2 Sep 13, Kranjčar joined Queens Park Rangers on a season long loan to reunite him with his former boss Harry Redknapp. This was the third time that Harry had signed Niko, having previously worked with him at Portsmouth and Tottenham. After a groin problem delayed his debut, Kranjčar eventually started playing for his new team. His last game in the Premier League was on Sun 10 May 14, playing in a match against Manchester City for Queens Park Rangers, where he featured in 33 of their games and scored 2 goals.
In 2014-15 season, on 1 Jul ‘14 Niko left the club following the expiration of his loan, but returned on the last day of the summer transfer window on 1 Sep 14 for another season-long loan at Queens Park Rangers and played in 22 games and scored 2 goals.
In 2015-16 season, after being released in Dynamo Kiev, he went to USA and trained with the New York Cosmos. However, he could not be a part of the squad due to the foreign players’ rule, but as luck would have it, in the middle of March 2016, one of the foreign players obtained an American citizenship, and Kranjčar finally signed for the Cosmos. Their head coach Giovanni Savarese added:
“Niko is not only a world class player, but also a fantastic human being. He has elite vision and technical ability with the ball at his feet, and we’re confident he can bring creativity to our approach in the attacking half of the field.”
Kranjčar the World Cup veteran will be aiming to help the reigning Soccer Bowl champions hit the ground running in the 2016 NASL campaign. His current deal is only for 10 games as things stand, but there may be an opportunity for an extension into the Fall Season if all goes well over the coming months.
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