Transfer news: Jets sign Croatian youth international

Newcastle Jets has today announced the signing of 19-year-old specialist left back Ivan Vujica on a two-year Hyundai A-League deal.

Vujica, a Sydney-born youngster who has represented Croatia at youth level, links with the Jets having last played for Dinamo Zagreb’s U19 squad.

He arrived in Newcastle late last week and will commence training with the club at Ray Watt Oval at the University of Newcastle today.

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Vujica departed Australia in 2011 to play in Croatia. He first linked with NK Sesvete, before shifting to Lokomotiva Zagreb.

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Vujica switched Zagreb clubs in 2013, swapping Lokomotiva’s Stadion Kranjčevićeva for Dinamo’s Stadion Maksimir. 

For the next two years of his professional career, Vujica - who played against the youth sides of Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Olympiakos in last year’s UEFA Youth League - will call Hunter Stadium home. 

“I am very happy that my move to the Jets has been completed,” Vujica said. “It has been quite a long process to return to Australia and play in the Hyundai A-League, but the Jets have worked hard to bring me to the club and I am thankful for that.”

“I already know Mateo Poljak and Steven Ugarkovic well, and they have told me good things about the club, team and city, so I am looking forward to meeting my new teammates this morning.” 

“This is a great opportunity for me to be part of a senior squad, but I haven’t come here only to develop, I have come to play my part for the first team in the Hyundai A-League as soon as possible,” he said.

Newcastle Jets Head Coach Scott Miller believes Vujica possesses qualities that will complement the Jets’ squad for campaigns to come. 

“Ivan has been well educated technically in Croatia and has an aggressive, dynamic style which we believe will help our group both physically and tactically,” Miller said. 

“He [Vujica] has been part of a full-time environment at Dinamo Zagreb, playing for the under 19s but training with the first and reserve teams, and from our analysis he rates very favourably statistically compared to his peers in games,” he said. 

Vujica’s possible selection in the Jets team to take on Melbourne Victory in the 2016 Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 in Newcastle later this month, or in August, is subject to his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) being received prior to the match.