Manuel Veth –
The return of Ante Rebić to Eintracht Frankfurt was one of the biggest surprises on the transfer deadline day in Germany. The Croatian striker had spent the 2016-17 season with Eintracht Frankfurt on loan from Fiorentina.
Frankfurt had a €3.2 million clause to complete the transfer for the 23-year-old striker. But despite playing 24 games in which he scored four goals and four assists Rebić was not without his critiques in Frankfurt. Considered a complicated character whose attitude threatened team chemistry Frankfurt felt that he was not worth the €3.2 million that Fiorentina wanted for the services of the left-winger.
Rebić was therefore sent back to Florence at the end of the season. But not all is well in Florence this summer. Fiorentina has had a poor start to the season despite the fact that the club replaced the unpopular Paulo Sousa with Stefano Pioli. Although Pioli is considered a Fiorentina legend, the new head coach has struggled to balance the squad put together by Paulo Sousa.
Originally Rebić was no Longer in Frankfurt’s Plans
Players like Rebić were considered surplus and no longer featured in the new head coaches plans. Frankfurt’s sporting director Fredi Bobić was, therefore, able to renegotiate a potential deal with the Italian side.
Rebić now rejoined Eintracht Frankfurt on a loan deal that will turn into a permanent deal for €2 million after Rebić has completed a certain amount of games for Frankfurt. Eintracht Frankfurt head coach Niko Kovac has called the signing of Rebić a lucrative business.
Eintracht Frankfurt have been adamant that they could use Rebić tempo, athleticism and his ability to beat players in one-on-one situations. The 185cm tall Croatian is indeed a powerful player and would work well in the 3-4-3 system that Kovac has used on occasions in the past.
Where will Rebić fit in Tactically for Eintracht Frankfurt?
The problem, of course, is that Kovac would favour Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sebastien Haller in the 3-5-2 system—the club, however, feel that with his speed and physical presence Rebić could also play as an all out striker. In 118 games Rebić has been used 34 times as a left-winger, 24 times as a deep-lying forward and eleven times as a full number nine. The tactical flexibility, in fact, is another big reason why Kovac has brought the forward back despite doubts about how he would fit into the team regarding chemistry.
Rebić is of course also an investment in the future. Eintracht Frankfurt has recently told kicker that the club will want to sign players who could be sold with a profit in the future. It was for that reason that Fredi Bobić paid a club record fee of €7 million for Haller to Utrecht and another €5 million to PSV Eindhoven for defender Jetro Williams.
Bobić feels that by investing more, the club will be more likely to generate more transfer revenue in the long term, which in turn would allow the club close the gap to the top clubs in the Bundesliga. The model has worked well for clubs like Borussia Dortmund, Gladbach and 1.FC Köln. Hence, while it might be a risky investment Rebić could be another building block for a brighter future for the club.
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.