Matej Delač set to sign for Chelsea F.C.

Matej Delač, the 17-year old Inter Zaprešić goalkeeper, who is considered to be the brightest prospect in Croatian football, is set to sign for Chelsea F.C. The fee is reported to be around one million euros plus another two million once Delač signs for the London giants, as Chelsea plan to leave the talented goalkeeper on loan for two season at Zaprešić, before he completes his move. Chelsea have been scouting the young prodigy from the start of the year and believe he would be the ideal replacement for Petr Čech.

Source (Croatian):

Delac has spent his entire club career with Inter Zapresic, playing at all levels of their youth setup. He made his debut in the Croatian league when he was 16 and sensationally saved a last minute penalty taken by former Croatian international Davor Vugrinec preserving a 1-0 victory over Croatia's most famous club, Dinamo Zagreb. In his following match against Hajduk Split he saved another penalty and later stating he had been studying the patterns of their expected penalty takers.

At 16 years and 182 days old, he is the youngest player to have played in the history of the 1.HNL. Delac is a member of the Croatian Under-19 team, and previously he played for the Under-15s and Under-17 side as well.

Benfica were interested in his services and he went on a trial there. Benfica would not match his valuation and he returned to Inter Zapresic. Dinamo Zagreb had apparently offered 1m euro plus a sell on clause but again Inter Zapresic refused.

Matej Delac has all the qualities to become a great goalkeeper. He has excellent reflexes, good positioning, great aerial ability and he is great in one-on-one situations.

Many goalkeepers play for a number of years and don’t save two penalties, Delac has already proved his ability at saving penalties but he is not just highly-rated because of that. His skills and performances prove that he is likely to play at a very high level.

Thanks to his great height, Delac is excellent in the air but it also means he sometimes struggles with low shots on the ground and he needs to improve this aspect of his game. For such a young goalkeeper he is also shy and does not yet command his box and needs to force his authority on his team mates, be more assertive and loud.

Since he is just 16, his more experienced team mates don’t always listen to his instructions but this will surely come with age and experience.


Compilation of some of his work including the two saved penalties

Link: 052TY5252

I think this is a fantastic move by Chelsea, he'll get to play another two more years at home at a high level of competition while at the same time ensuring Chelsea are planning for the days when Petr Cech will no longer be between the sticks.