According to reports on Saturday, Newcastle United have been watching Andrej Kramaric ahead of this summer’s transfer market.
The Croatian international turns 27 in June and plays as an attacking midfielder/second striker.
After being a big success in Croatian domestic football, Andrej Kramaric was bought for £10m by Leicester back in January 2015.
However, he was given very limited opportunities and started only six Premier League games for the Foxes, scoring two goals, before heading off to Hoffenheim on loan only 12 months later.
With five Bundesliga goals and two assists in the second half of that 2015/16 season, Hoffenheim snapped him up at the end of that season, Leicester losing only a couple of million on the £10m they’d paid 18 months earlier.
Andrej Kramaric’ career has really taken off in Germany and he has featured in all 68 of Hoffenheim’s league matches in these past two years, scoring 28 goals and getting 14 assists. Very impressive to be involved in 42 goals, especially when he has only started 50 of the matches, coming off the bench in 18 others.
The Chronicle report that Newcastle United’s Head of Recruitment Steve Nickson was dispatched to watch Hoffenheim and Andrej Kramaric this season.
However, any Newcastle hopes may have been severely dented by a dramatic end to the Bundesliga season.
Bayern Munich were once again untouchable on 84 points, 21 ahead of runners-up Schalke on 63.
However, the season ended with three clubs separated only by goal difference in the next three places, Hoffenheim on 55 points and only one goal better off than Borussia Dortmund and four goals better than Bayer Leverkusen.
With Hoffenheim looking forward to Champions League football, you have to feel it will take a very good offer for both club and player to be tempted.
The one positive for Newcastle or any other interested club is that Andrej Kramaric wasn’t an automatic starter this season, starting 22 league games and coming off the bench in another 12.
There has been talk of interest from Bayern Munich but the player insists he is only thinking about Croatia and the World Cup at the minute, with ‘plenty of time to discuss a potential transfer.’
Andrej Kramaric does have the profile to suggest he is a player who would be capable of making a big difference in quality for Newcastle but a hard one to land.
Obviously to land the quality required this summer on the left wing and in the two most forward positions especially, we first of all need to see Mike Ashley willing to allow Rafa Benitez the backing needed, before we have any chance of seeing the likes of Kenedy or Andrej Kramaric being realistic targets this summer.
Andrej Kramaric talking to Goal last week:
“I have seen what the media said [about Bayern Munich links] but take it easy, there is plenty of time.
“My priority is the World Cup now.
“There is plenty of time to discuss a potential transfer.
“I am very happy and enjoy being here.
“I have always loved the Bundesliga and coming to Hoffenheim was a great move.
“This is a perfectly organised club.
“The whole team had dinner together yesterday and now we are free for a holiday.
“We deserved it after the great season we have had. I have 11 days until Croatia start their training camp for the World Cup.”