Dion Drena Beljo – The next Dusan Vlahovic?

ballprogression
By ballprogression
7 Min Read
DION-DRENA-BELJO

Dion Drena Beljo is a 20-year-old Croatia youth international currently playing for NK Osijek in Croatia’s HNL.

Beljo is regarded as a big talent in his home country but also abroad. West Ham, Sampdoria, Galatasaray, Borussia Monchengladbach, Basel, Anderlecht and more have all been quoted as interested in his services over the last year. 

The 6ft4 striker started his career off at a now lower league club by the name of Cibalia. He was supposed to be the youngest debutant in the HNL at the time but an injury prevented that at 16 years old. After plying his trade there, bigger clubs came calling. He eventually picked Osijek over the famous Dinamo Zagreb and Sampdoria because it was closer to his place of stay at the time. That didn’t pose any problems for his development and Beljo has made a name for himself on loan at Istra and is now continuing in the same trend for Osijek.

Beljo is an excellent goalscorer with layers to his game. Much like Vlahovic, he knows where the goal is and has everything in his locker to keep defenders guessing. He really made the jump last season to becoming a consistent goalscorer after slotting in a total of 20 goals in 37 games in the league and cup for Istra on loan. 

Dion-Drena-Beljo-Osijek-vs-HNK-Gorica
image credit: nk-osijek.hr

He started this season strongly again, managing to score 5 in 7 so far aswell as becoming one of the main players for Osijek who were heavily struggling for form in the opening 5 games. 

“My role model is Ronaldo, as a player and as a man, Haaland and Vlahović from the newer generations”. (Index.hr)

PLAYING STYLE

When you look at his movement and sometimes rugged style, you’ll get very old school type of striker vibes. The best words to describe him to someone who hasn’t seen him is an “unbrushed diamond”. He’ll snap shots with no backlift from hard angles sometimes with the ball below him and you’ll be stunned a big guy like that is capable of that. Dion Drena Beljo has a well developed technique, he can play people in and it comes from his background of playing futsal in his younger days. 

He’s light on his feet for his size and has a really solid base when holding off defenders. He bullies them at times but I still want to see more conviction when he pulls those off. He’s got a knack of being in the right place at the right time and his goals show that. Beljo can also carry the ball up the pitch well. Once he gets in his stride, he covers ground quickly but can appear slow at times due to his size and the fact he takes a second to get going, I also noticed he drags his feet a little when he runs which could be hurting his slow-ish start to his runs.

All the flaws I mentioned will get polished more with time as he keeps growing into his body and when he gets stronger overall.

Dion Drena Beljo has plenty of potential to grow into a Vlahovic/Schick type striker over time and you’ll definitely notice the similarities when you see his clips. However, he still has a lot of work ahead of him. I personally feel all these clubs want to get him before he fills out his frame while also controlling his body better in duels and becoming more in tune with his movement. These things can happen quickly. His now quoted price will likely double/triple if he keeps progressing in the same way but in a stronger league in a few years. 

He gives me the impression of a youngster who’s grounded and very self-aware of what he needs to work on, and this quote from last year just shows me that:

“I definitely don’t use my body enough, I’m more of a player who’ll avoid duels and ask for ball to feet. I have a lot of room for improvement there and adding muscle mass will help. The percentage is low but most players go into duels with the intention of winning them, while I try to calm the ball down or pass it on to a teammate.” (Index.hr)

And think about what kind of player you’re getting when stuff like this click for him. 6ft4 menace with a wand of a left foot, Haaland like gait and a dangerous instinct for goals. Scary stuff.

Dion-Drena-Beljo-NK-Ojisek
image credit: nk-osijek.hr

He’s already outgrown this league by a chunk after two or so seasons there. The price circulating around his departure is around 10 million euros for now, but that could all change – for better or for worse. If Beljo continues on the same goalscoring rate, there could potentially be a bidding war for him come summer. It has to be noted that Osijek already had a situation where they held on to a striker in demand for too long before he eventually dropped off in form and his price plummeted. Time will tell but Osijek hold the cards in their hands for now.

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