Zoran Tosic is a name that United fans will know well, but few will have seen him play. The 22 year-old Serb signed for United last January for a reported £8 million but has only made two appearances in the league for United as well as a couple of substitute appearances in domestic cup games.
His role at United is something of a mystery; at 22 he is no youth player; he should be making some sort of impact on the first-team squad but the new arrival Obertan looks to have jumped ahead of him in the pecking order already. As well as Obertan, Tosic is competing with Giggs, Nani, Valencia and Park Ji Sung. But Park and Obertan were injured for a significant period whilst Nani’s form has been patchy, and yet Tosic was still not called upon by Sir Alex Ferguson. In addition the young Serb was omitted from United’s Champions League squad while the injury-stricken Hargreaves was included; many felt that this exclusion could be a sign that Ferguson does not believe Tosic has the quality to play for the first-team. It has also been suggested that he is too lightweight for the Premier League, though this has been no hindrance to the likes of Modric and Lennon at Tottenham.
Tosic is known as a set-piece specialist and is blessed with great pace and a powerful shot. His recent performances for Serbia have been impressive and he is likely to play a significant role at the World Cup. Yet he has made no impression in the league, he is a regular in the reserve side and there have been rumours linking him with a move away from the club. His compatriot Adam Ljajic will join him at United in January and it will be hoped that the arrival of his former teammate will aid Tosic’s progress.
Despite Tosic’s slow start to his career, he should take heart from the story of his fellow Serbians in the Premier League. Nemanja Vidic has established himself as United’s first choice centre-back while Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic’s story has some similarities with that of Tosic. Ivanovic arrived at Chelsea in January 2008 and had to wait over eight months to make his first appearance for the first-team. He has gone on to establish himself as an important member of the Chelsea squad and one of the best natural defenders in the league. Tosic has been at United for almost a year and though there has been no sign of him recently, he is said to be keen to stay and fight for his place. The fixture list becomes especially congested in the next few weeks and Tosic will be hoping for an opportunity to prove that he is not an expensive flop.