Milan Badelj signed for Fiorentina in the Serie A in the summer transfer window, a midfielder in reality, Hamburg could not really afford to lose.
Despite the addition of Switzerland international Valon Berhami from Napoli, HSV have most noticeably lost Hakan Çalhanoğlu who joined Bunedesliga rivals Bayer Leverkusen in a €14 million deal. Another international, Per Ciljan Skjebred signed for Hertha Berlin on a permanent deal. Midfielders Robert Tesche and Tomas Rincon joined Nottingham Forest and Genoa respectively. Mirko Slomka and the management also shipped out Kerem Demirbay on loan to FC Kasierslautern.
So, with that having been said, why will Hamburg miss Badelj?
In two years, the Croatian has made 60 appearances in the Bundesliga, whilst scoring only 2 goals, Badelj has created 56 chances for his teammates, according to Squawka. Known for his creativeness from deep, Badelj boasted 81 percent pass accuracy in his previous two seasons at Hamburg.
Comparing Badelj to come of the best deep-lying playmakers in the Bundesliga, the 25-year old comes out one of the best.
Badelj consistently averaged the second best, behind Borussia Dortmund’s Nuri Sahin. A complete midfielder, the Croatian made a total of 86 tackles last season, just ten behind Sahin, whilst ahead of Leverkusen’s Lars Bender.
The midfielder again came second to Sahin in number of interceptions made for this season; this shows the Croatians tactical awareness, ability to see danger in front of him. Yes, something that Behrami may also be able to do, but the HSV’s new signing doesn’t have the same creative abilities from midfield as Badelj does.
Despite Behrami having a higher passing percentage, Badelj made almost double the amount of passes in the 2013/14 season, with the majority been forward passes. The most revealing stat is the chances created, 22 in a season for Badelj, that’s just less than one-per-game. Whilst Behrami created just four chances during all of last season in the Serie A. Whilst Behrami is clearly more defensive minded, as shown per the shot accuracy, the Swiss midfielder had just five efforts last season, hence the 0% accuracy.
However, fans may wonder if Behrami will help stop HSV conceding as many goals as they did last season. According to Squawka, Badlej also exceeds HSV’s new signing in this area.
A ball winner, a creative player and someone who is tactically astute is what you’re going to get with Badelj. More tackles won, higher number of interceptions and higher percentage of aerial duels won shows that Badlej really is the complete midfielder.
An example of the creativity that Badelj boasts can be found below in a pass to Çalhanoğlu against Werder Bremen.
The Croation can also spread the ball from deep positions;
So, with two games now already gone in the Bundesliga. HSV have entered the international break with a 0-0 draw away to FC Köln on the opening day of the season, before losing 3-0 at home to newly promoted SC Paderborn 07 the following week. You have to wonder, how would HSV have faired if they still had Badelj.