AGONA Profile: Josip Misic, the new Midfield General in Thessaloniki
Following the season ending injury received by Pontus Wernbloom, PAOK boosted their midfield options by signing Josip Misic on loan from Sporting Lisbon. AGONAsport takes a closer look at his career.
EARLY TRANSFER TO OSIJEK
Initially, Misic began his career with small organisation Zrinski Bosnjaci in 2002, but after playing in their academy for three years, he was snapped up by Osijek at the age of 11.
Osijek was where Misic found his feet as a footballer. Progressing through the club’s system, the midfielder eventually managed to force his way into the senior team at the start of the 2012/2013 campaign, making his debut on July 12, 2012 in a UEFA Europa League qualifier against Santa Coloma (3:1). After playing 43 minutes of that game, Misic remained a part of the main Osijek squad for the next qualifying round of the competition against Kalmar, however his substitute appearances in those games couldn’t save the Croatian club from a 1:6 aggregate defeat.
PROGRESSION IN CROATIA, ITALIAN LOAN
In the 2012/2013 season, Misic was in and out of the Osijek team, competing in a grand total of 11 domestic championship matches while scoring his maiden professional goal in a 3:0 win against Inter Zapresic. However, in the following season, Misic became a first team regular for Osijek as he played in 28 league matches and tallied nine assists.
Misic remained at Osijek for the beginning of the 2014/2015 season, and after a solid start to the campaign, he was signed by Rijeka for a reported fee of 250 thousand euros in January. The midfielder was expected to shine for Rijeka, but as the second half of that particular season continued, his performance level dropped and he was sent on loan to Serie B outfit Spezia in August 2015.
Unfortunately, more often that not, Misic found himself keeping the bench warm in Italy. At Spezia, he only participated in eight Serie B matches, not picking up any goals or assists along the way.
STRONG PERFORMANCES WITH RIJEKA, MOVE TO PORTUGAL
Misic was recalled to Rijeka for the 2016/2017 season, and after a disappointing spell in Italy, he needed to get back on track.
He did just that. In stark contrast to the previous year, Misic was a leading light, scoring twice and dishing out six assists with Rijeka in the league as the team became Croatian champions and won the national cup. He also played in his first match for the national team on January 11, 2017 in a friendly against Chile.
Building on those achievements, Misic began the 2017/2018 campaign in brilliant fashion with Rijeka, in particular helping the team qualify for the UEFA Europa League group stages. Having spotted potential in the midfielder, Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon came calling, parting with 2.75 million to sign Misic in the January transfer window.
The Croat didn’t settle in Portugal. Rarely receiving a chance to showcase his abilities with Sporting, he only six games across all competitions in the remainder of the 2017/2018 season, and after competing in three Portuguese Primeira Liga games at the start of the current campaign, Misic was sent out on loan to PAOK until June 2020. The Greeks will also have the opportunity to sign him on a permanent basis if they wish.
STRONG START IN THESSALONIKI
Yes, admittedly it was a Greek Cup game against Football League club Panachaiki, but Misic made the perfect start to life in Thessaloniki with a brilliant goal in the 5:0 victory. A versatile player, the 24-year-old does possess the ability to play either as a defensive or attacking midfielder, but his best position is sitting directly in the middle of the park. The fact that Sporting Lisbon spotted enough talent to sign him suggests he boasts real potential, and if he can perform at a high level consistently, he could become a hugely important player for the Dikefalos tou Vorra. Time will tell.