While Manchester United fans will have their eyes fixed on the progress of their big name stars as they do battle for their various countries in South Africa, they can easily overlook Serbia’s midfielder Zoran Tosic who may well be playing for his Old Trafford future. Although he is still contracted to United, the 23 year old has been on loan at FC Cologne in the Bundesliga since January.
The Serbian ace made a big contribution to the German club’s cause but now looks likely to return to Old Trafford after his World Cup commitments are completed. According to reports in the highly respected Kicker magazine, the Cologne is anxious to sign the Serbian on a permanent basis but while an extended loan period is not possible, it is also unable to meet his terms.
Together with Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic, Tosic played the entire 90 minutes in Serbia’s 0-1 defeat at the hands of surprise qualifiers New Zealand in a World Cup hit out on Saturday but while the Serbs 30 man preliminary squad has not yet been trimmed down, it will be a huge shock if either player fail to make the cut.
United signed Tosic from Partizan Belgrade for £8million in January 2009 and made his first team debut as a substitute in the FA Cup win over Tottenham later that month. Another two appearances off the bench at West Brom and Hull followed in his first season at Old Trafford.
The start of the 2009-10 campaign saw Tosic play in two Carling Cup victories before joining Cologne in January on loan until the end of the season where he scored five goals in 12 appearances. The midfielder has since been reported to say that he will only return to Old Trafford if Sir Alex Ferguson gave him a chance to prove himself.
“If United want me back I will be very happy to return but I don’t want to find myself in the same situation as last year, I want to have a more important role in the United set up” Tosic said before joining Serbia’s World Cup training camp. “I’m well settled at Cologne but it remains to be seen what Manchester United will say. I’m still on contract with the club so it’s their decision but if that’s not what they want I will have to try and work out terms with Cologne or look at alternative options.”
The reality is however that Tosic faces fierce competition for playing time at United with both Nani and Antonio Valencia in great form in the second half of the season. A good tournament for Serbia will certainly do his argument a power of good and his future at Old Trafford may well hinge on his performances in South Africa.
Serbia coach Radomir Antic expects Tosic to make a big splash in the tournament but with Germany looking certainties to qualify as they always do, it only leaves an opportunity for one out of Serbia, Australia and Ghana to advance from Group D to the last sixteen.
Tosic was a key member of the Under 21 side that finished second to Holland in the 2007 European Championships and he was awarded his first full cap by then Serbia coach Javier Clemente in August of the same year against Finland. “For any young player going to a World Cup is a dream come true” says Tosic “I just hope that I can make some sort of impact. This is a special Serbia side and we can make history”
Should Tosic be brought back to Old Trafford or be transferred elsewhere?