When Rade Krunic first landed in Italy as a Hellas Verona player, little did he know that within five years he would be part of one of the most prestigious clubs in all of Italy, but also the world, with the Bosnian now an AC Milan player, as the Rossoneri plan another rebirth.
With Krunic, Milan have done a fantastic piece of business. Watching Krunic finish with some skill was one of the surprises of Serie A 2018/19, as part of one of the most entertaining midfields in Italy, even despite Empoli’s relegation. Now, for €8 million, Krunic will look to become part of a new Rossoneri midfield, in a brilliant value-for-money deal.
Born in Foca, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the October 7, 1993, Krunic was brought to Italy in 2014 by Verona, who acquired him form Donji Srem. He was loaned out straight away back to the same club he came from, and then after some trouble ended up signing for Empoli in July 2015.
In his four seasons in Tuscany, Krunic suffered two relegations from Serie A, but individually he improved dramatically, scoring five goals in 2018/19 Serie A campaign, some of them absolute stunners.
Combining physical strength with a decent amount of quality, Krunic is a modern, complete midfielder, who ideally does his best playing as a mezzala in a 4-3-3 system.
Showing both great passing skills and solid in recovering of possession, he was the heart of Empoli’s midfield, with Ismael Bennacer being the brain, and Hamed Junior Traore the lungs. A perfect combination for Empoli, all three being consistent throughout the season.
The Bosnian also demonstrated great mentality in most games, being constantly focussed and a presence that couldn’t go unnoticed in midfield. Any opponent that faced him will have found him difficult to surpass, and tough to stop.
Krunic’s two highlights came with a lovely long range shot at SPAL, and a beautiful chipped finish against Sassuolo after dribbling past three opponents. These two goals show all his repertoire, from power to accuracy, then quality and composure on the ball to ice-cool finishing.
Currently, Krunic resembles the likes of Jasmin Kurtic of SPAL or Juraj Kucka of Parma, but he has the potential to raise the bar and have a more high end career. Someone like Sami Khedira could be his perfect model – an all round midfielder with an eye for goal.
Of course, Milan directors Paolo Maldini and the incoming Zvonimir Boban would be very happy with him just being even half as good as prime Khedira, justifying the investment and helping Milan out of the slump they’re in at the moment.