Cologne - After an indifferent season at Bayer 04 Leverkusen, the goal-scoring talents of Swiss international striker Josip Drmic dropped off the radar for almost everyone save the powers that be at Borussia Mönchengladbach.
If at first you don't succeed...
The Foals recognised that the 22-year-old’s development stagnated at the BayArena and duly swooped to wrap up a deal for a player they first tried to sign 12 months ago.
"We were interested in signing Josip Drmic last year, but on that occasion he opted for Leverkusen," recalled Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl. "We're delighted that everything has now fallen into place. Josip is a quick and dangerous attacker and is going to fit in well."
Drmic rose to prominence in his debut Bundesliga season at former club 1. FC Nürnberg. Although his 17 league goals couldn’t save the Franconian outfit from relegation to the second tier at the end of 2013/14, it was clear the Lachen-born forward of Croatian descent was destined for bigger things.
...try, try again
Before jetting off to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with Ottmar Hitzfeld’s Switzerland, Drmic signed a five-year deal at Leverkusen. On paper, it looked as though die Werkself had landed a ready-made successor to Stefan Kießling’s goal-laden throne, but the expected changing of the guard did not materialise.
Drmic made just 25 appearances in all competitions for the club, making seven starts. During that time, he found the back of the net on just six occasions, albeit at an impressive rate of one goal every 134 minutes. When Max Kruse announced his intentions to swap Gladbach for VfL Wolfsburg towards the end of 2014/15, the Foals knew exactly where to find his replacement.
An attacking all-rounder, Drmic is the ideal candidate to lead the Gladbach line in 2015/16. He has all the attributes associated with a classic centre forward and also works the flanks just as well in a front three: qualities needed to thrive in Borussia head coach Lucien Favre’s high-octane transitional and counter-attacking game.
Favre’s reputation as a mentor must have played a part in Drmic’s decision to jump ship, too. The Swiss tactician has taken players such as Kruse, Raffael and Christoph Kramer to another level in recent seasons and will be confident of guiding his freshly appointed No9 back to the upper echelons of the Bundesliga scorers’ charts - where he belongs.