Croatian goal-machine names Leeds, Newcastle among favourite clubs amid transfer links

Dion Drena Beljo Croatia Under-21 Credit: Alamy
Dion Drena Beljo Croatia Under-21 Credit: Alamy

Centre-forward Dion Drena Beljo has named Leeds and Newcastle as his two favourite Premier League clubs in a recent interview, fuelling transfer speculation.

Beljo, 20, plays his football for Croatian top-tier side NK Osijek and has been prolific in front of goal of late. Indeed, this season the youngster has already netted eight times in 16 league appearances and has picked up two assists.

His impressive performances have been key to Osijek’s recent success, who currently sit third in the Croatian First Division.

Beljo has already represented Croatia at Under-21 level, helping them to qualify for the UEFA European Under-21 Championships in September, so he is rated highly.

In an interview with Florian Plettenberg last week, Beljo told Sky Sports he is ready to take the next step in his career.

Reportedly, Osijek are willing to let the striker leave for a fee of around £5million.

Plettenberg then asked the youngster for his favourite team in England, to which Beljo answered with Newcastle and Leeds United.

This transfer could be worth entertaining for Leeds, given Patrick Bamford’s recent injury problems and failure to find form before the World Cup.

The Croatian’s value will only rise if he keeps banging in the goals for his club. Young, free-scoring strikers are notoriously difficult to find, so it could be a shrewd piece of business if Jesse Marsch brings Beljo to Elland Road.

Beljo and Osijek are both reportedly open to a January transfer, so Leeds must move quickly if they want to secure the youngster’s signature.

The perfect storm for wantaway youngster

The Croatian’s interview comes at a time when the future of Leeds’ top goal scorer Rodrigo is up in the air.

The Spaniard has now entered the last 18 months of his contract and negotiations for an extension are reportedly still not underway.

The Whites find themselves at a crossroads where they must either tie down Rodrigo to a new contract, or sell him in the next six months to stop the 31-year-old leaving on a free transfer.

Considering this, Beljo could be a solid long-term investment for the Yorkshire side.

It would be a relatively low-risk move with a low valuation of £5million.

Newcastle are a less likely destination for the Croatian, given they already have three good centre-forward options in Chris Wood, Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson.

Leeds and Newcastle are yet to register an official interest in Beljo, but his comments could catch their attention, as well as that of other clubs as the centre-forward looks for his first big transfer.

It would be a huge step up for Beljo to move from Osijek and the Premier League, but based on his recent performances he has the potential to succeed at a higher level.

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