As Luka Jovic, Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebic have struggled to recreate their impact at their new clubs – they have just 15 strikes and five assists between them – reported Crystal Palace target Filip Kostic has picked up where he left off.
Dealing with the extra pressure of coordinating Eintracht Frankfurt’s attacks, he has 12 goals and 12 assists already this campaign from his left-midfield position. Of course, that has not gone unnoticed across the continent, and Palace (The Sun via ninetyminutesonline.com) are said to be interested in making a move.
Last season, the trio of Sebastien Haller, Luka Jovic and Ante Rebic made Germany – and Europe – sit up and take notice.
For Frankfurt, they formed a threatening attacking trident. Between them, they managed 57 goals in all competitions, as well as 25 assists, as the Eagles made the Europa League semi-finals. Even then, they were only beaten by the eventual winners, Chelsea, on penalties.
It wasn’t long before others leagues were eyeing the Bundesliga outfit’s prime jewels. West Ham paid £45m for Haller, whilst Real Madrid parted with €65m (£54.5m) for Jovic after Frankfurt had signed him permanently from Benfica. Rebic may not have been sold, but he joined AC Milan on loan, with a view to buy for €25m (£21m, Corriere della Serra via milannews.it).
The 2018 DFB Pokal winners had been eviscerated, all their hard work evaporating in the space of a few weeks.
Fortunately, not all was lost – they still had Filip Kostic.
The Serbia international managed 10 goals and 13 assists last season – none of his teammates managed more of the latter – as he flew under the radar somewhat. He was one they managed to sign permanently last season after he had initially moved on loan from Hamburg for two seasons.
The 27-year-old arguably runs the game for his side from the left flank. He has 2.8 shots, 2.6 key passes and three dribbles per Bundesliga game – he leads the way in all three departments for Frankfurt – whilst the first two numbers rise to 2.9 and a huge 3.3 respectively in the Europa League. In regards to the latter, that has him joint-top in the whole competition.
Kostic seems to be somewhat of a late bloomer. He was not exactly a flop at either VfB Stuttgart or Hamburg, but never managed more than five goals or eight assists across all competitions in one season. In fact, he was even relegated with the latter – the first time they had dropped down to the second tier in the history of the Bundesliga.
Fredi Bobic, Frankfurt’s current sporting director, clearly saw something in him though.
He had been the one to prise him away from Eredivisie side Groningen to take him to Stuttgart, and he repeated the trick at the Commerzbank Arena as well.
It just goes to show that, whilst Haller, Jovic and Rebic were all eventually allowed to leave, Bobic didn’t even blink twice when knocking back Internazionale’s €40m offer (£33.6m, Bild via calciomercato.com) in the summer.
Kostic himself has done little to allay fears that he won’t be out of the door in the summer, though.
In January, he told Bild (via bulinews.com) that he doesn’t know yet if he will be with the club beyond the summer. He explained: “I don’t know yet. I’m really happy here and proud to be a player for this club and this team. The club have to make a decision and see what makes sense if they’re offered a lot of money. That’s normal in football.”
Bad news for Frankfurt, but potentially great news for Palace, and indeed anyone else who may be interested.
He is unlikely to come cheap but he would be well worth it.