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06th Jan 2017

Former Premier League flop lands mega money move to China

Remember this guy?

Ben Kiely

You’ve got to hand it to Nikola Kalinic, he’s really turned his career around.

It may be a cliche, but it will keep being said until it no longer rings true – some players just aren’t suited to certain leagues.

For Croatian striker Nikola Kalinic, that bogey league turned out to be the English top flight, as he failed to make any real impact after Blackburn Rovers bought him from Hajduk Split in 2009 for a transfer fee believed to be in the region of €7 million.

The striker found the net just seven times in 44 league appearances during his stint at Rovers before they cut their losses and shipped him on to Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. He spent just over four seasons in Ukraine before Fiorentina took note of his impressive form and snapped him up.

However, he enjoyed far more success in his second go at a ‘Big Four’ league than he did the first time he gave it a go. He has scored 25 goals and provided 10 assists for the Viola, since moving to the Serie A. Not a bad return from two seasons.

His performances in Italy cuaght the attention of Tianjin Quanjian coach Fabio Cannavaro, who according to Sky Italia has agreed a deal to bring the forward to the Chinese Super League for a mammoth €45m.

If these reports are true, it would mean Kalinic would become the most expensive player Fiorentina have ever sold. He would shoot straight past Rui Costa, who left the club to join AC Milan for €41.6m in 2001.

It is understood that Cannavaro turned his focus to Kalinic after it became apparent that his first-choice target Diego Costa was not for sale.

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