During previous days of the October international break we had the chance to read about Manchester United being interested in Mijat Gacinovic. Jose Mourinho was in Vienna last Friday watching Austria beat Serbia 3-2 and the media started speculating if there was anyone the Portuguese specifically looked at.
As it usually goes, Mourinho does not go to matches to watch for his own enjoyment. He does it for the job he is doing. When he was a manager at Chelsea, he watched one match of Serbian international team in Belgrade, looking further at Nemanja Matic. The midfielder turned out to be one of his fine additions to the Chelsea team, and now at Manchester United as well.
Mourinho Has Scouted Him
Now that we have settled that, we can talk about who was Mourinho really looking at. British media have suggested it was Mijat Gacinovic, Serbia’s young winger. He made his first start for Serbia in Vienna, playing as an inside-forward in a 3-4-2-1 formation, alongside Dusan Tadic and just behind Aleksandar Mitrovic.
It was a performance to forget for the youngster – born in 1995 – in a poor match by the Serbian team overall. However, Gacinovic is one of the players Serbia will rely on in the years to come.
Gacinovic was famously part of the Serbia U19 team which won European championship in 2013. He also played for the U20 team in 2015 which became world champions. He was one of the best and most consistent players in the latter tournament. After the successful time in Serbia’s U20 team, he signed for Eintracht Frankfurt in summer of 2015. Gacinovic already played 50 matches for the Bundesliga club, making six league starts in 2017-18.
Who is Gacinovic?
But, what is Gacinovic bringing to the table? He is an offensive-minded midfielder who can play on either flank and behind the striker. Gacinovic has a positional versatility which could be useful for Man United. He is direct and likes taking on defenders. Being right-footed, Gacinovic would be able to play on the right as a real winger, not an inside-forward.
At 22, Gacinovic still has a lot to accomplish. He is not a star player like some other players have been at his age or younger. Still, Gacinovic still can improve a lot. His physique is a little bit weaker, especially for the Premier League standards. He would definitely need to improve in that area if he was to succeed at Man United.
Could He Succeed In England?
Gacinovic would also be a cheaper, less risky option for Manchester United. The Reds would not have to spend heavily for a good squad player who could improve. Also, Nemanja Matic could have played his part in recommending the Serbian to Mourinho.
Still, many question marks lay over Gacinovic. He is yet to establish himself in Bundesliga, even though Bayern Munich have been linked with him in previous months. His physical presence on the pitch could improve, as well.
Compared to Ivan Perisic, he is not necessarily a better player than the Croat. However, Gacinovic would probably be a better option. The Serbian would be much cheaper, and more importantly, much younger. The potential is there. Whether he could find his feet in England is another question. Right now, he is just one of the players Man United will keep their eyes on.