Muhamed Besic played every minute for his team at this summer’s World Cup, and while that adventure didn’t meet with a happy end for Bosnia and Herzegovina, it did serve as a platform for the team’s 21-year-old midfielder. Completing his move to England today, Besic has made the most of that launching pad, signing with Everton on Thursday.
The defensive midfielder will joint his team in Thailand, where the Toffees are preparing to face newly-promoted Leicester City this weekend.
“I am looking forward to introducing him to the Everton fans …,” manager Roberto Martínez said on the club’s website, having acquired the German-born midfielder from Hungary’s Ferencváros. Unconfirmed reports estimate the transfer fee at $6.8 million.
Ferencváros was Besic’s second club, having joined the Green Eagles from Hamburg in the summer of 2012. Previously declining to play for Germany at youth level, Besic had only made three Bundesliga appearances with HSV before moving on.
In two years in Hungary, the defensive midfielder made 47 league appearances, helping his team win the 2012-13 Hungarian Cup. By the end of his time with Ferencváros, Besic has collected 12 caps with his national team, helping Bosnia and Herzegovina qualify for their first World Cup.
With Everton, Besic adds depth to a midfield that depends on Gareth Barry and James McCarthy to support attacking midfielder Ross Barkley. Besic also gives Everton a chance to play a more defensive-minded midfield, should Martínez elect to sacrifice a more attack-minded player in favorite of fortifying the middle.
Thanks to the Toffees’ fifth place finish in last season’s Premier League, Martínez will also have to balance Europa League responsibilities with his quest to secure a top-four spot. While he may not start immediately, Besic should get sufficient playing time being rotated into the middle.
The leap, however, will be a big one. Not only is Besic inexperienced, but the jump from Hungary to England represents a steep slope. Though he played 270 minutes in Brazil, the rigors of a full English season will require an adjustment.
At 21, however, this is clearly a long-term signing, one which gives Martínez a chance to mold an international-caliber player. He may not be ready to replace Gareth Barry now, but with today’s deal, he’s set up to be the heir apparent.