This summer is a crucial one for the long-term future of Alen Halilovic who is set to make a massive decision on who his next permanent club is going to be ahead of next term.
Halilovic was handed the chance to get his career back on track by Birmingham City last November when they made the decision to give him a short-term contract until the end of the campaign. That came after he had been released by AC Milan and saw his career at something of a crossroads.
The 24-year-old’s natural ability and raw talent have never been in question and have taken him to places like Barcelona and AC Milan in his career to date.
However, he has never been able to truly display that potential on a consistent basis and is at the age now where he needs to find a settled home to fulfill his promise.
The attacking midfielder was not a guaranteed starter for the Blues in the Championship last term, but he did manage to make nine starts and 17 appearances in total in the English second tier.
There were clear glimpses of his quality during his appearances for Birmingham last season, chief amongst which were the excellent goal he scored against QPR and also the performance he produced off the bench to help transform the game in the Blues’ vital win at Derby County.
As a result, his short-term switch to St Andrews can be considered to have been largely a success in terms of rejuvenating his career and displaying what he can produce. While it was also a success for the Blues considering he helped play an important part in keeping them in the Championship.
Halilovic is now once again in the position where he is a free agent and is free to talk to interested parties before weighing up the right move for his career trajectory.
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According to the latest report from Birmingham Live, Birmingham remain in talks with Halilovic over the prospect of him signing a new deal and remaining at St Andrews for next season.
Although it is also believed that the attacking midfielder has offers on the table from other clubs in England as well as sides in Spain, Italy and Turkey.
The fact that he has those extra options available to him this summer shows that Birmingham was a good temporary destination for him to help drive up his reputation in the game once again and put him in a stronger position to determine his career trajectory.
The issue for Birmingham and Lee Bowyer is that Halilovic is a player that has technical quality beyond the Championship and should really be operating at a higher level. So, will he believe that now is the right time for him to move to a higher level if he has those options open to him.
Bowyer clearly feels that Halilovic is a player with that extra added quality that might be able to take his side to a new level next term under his management. You would have to say that if they can secure his signature and get the best out of him then they could have one of the best players in the league on their hands.
Birmingham will need to demonstrate to Halilovic that they have ambitions to challenge for promotion to the Premier League over the next few years.
If they can do that then the attacking midfielder should seriously consider staying with the Blues for at least another year, rather than moving on and having to start again at another club.
Halilovic’s decision over his future will say a lot about the direction that Birmingham are heading in under Bowyer. Retaining someone of his class would when they have other options would be a major positive sign that they are ready to enjoy a successful campaign next season.