Milos Kerkez: Iraola lands number one left-back target for Bournemouth

Arnold Lewis
By Arnold Lewis
6 Min Read

Every football club needs its own identity. Manchester City have their tiki-taka philosophy coached by Pep Guardiola. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have Gegenpressing, and Johan Cruyff passed on his Total Football philosophy at Ajax and Barcelona. Similarly, Andoni Iraola has his own philosophy – the Hybrid Pressing. After his exceptional three-year spell at Real Vallecano, the Basque manager joined the Cherries in the summer of 2023. He has since been already making moves in the transfer market, aiming to shape his team that will benefit from his methods.

Justin Kluivert was the first signing of the Iraola era which was followed by Romain Faivre joining from Lyon – however, he was sent back on loan until 2024. Both those players are young and perfectly fit the kind of profile that Bournemouth and Iraola are looking at. The next player in line to join at the Vitality Stadium is AZ Alkmaar left-back Milos Kerkez. As previously mentioned in our Andoni Iraola’s Bournemouth analysis, the Cherries lack the kind of player profile needed that suits Iraola’s style of play and had to dig deep in the transfer market.

This has led to the transfer of Serbian-born Kerkez on the verge of signing for Bournemouth. But who is the young fullback and why the Bournemouth manager has set his faith in him?

Milos Kerkez – Career analysis

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Well for starters, Milos Kerkez can already be described as a journeyman at the age f just 19. Bournemouth will be his fourth club in his senior professional career, having already played for the likes of Gyor, AC Milan and AZ. That’s three clubs in the last three seasons.

Born in 2003, in the city of Vrbas in Serbia, Kerkez represents the Hungary national team because of his dual citizenship. His parents decided to help their son pursue a career in professional football and let him join local club FK Vrbas youth academy. The left-back stayed there for almost a year before joining Austrian giants Rapid Wien. He spent five years in the Austrian capital which helped him gain momentum that would help him in his senior career.

He left Rapid Wien in search of new challenges which landed him at Hungarian club Hodmezovasarhely in 2019. After outgrowing the club in six months, Kerkez joined FC Gyor at the end of 2019. After making 16 appearances in all competitions for them, and having impressed in various outings, AC Milan came calling for the youngster. Kerkez’s head had already been turned by Milan’s interest and he decided to switch to San Siro.

He trained regularly with the first-team of AC Milan and was part of the squad when the Rossoneri won their first Scudetto in 10 years. However, with a lack of game time and competition for places in the form of Theo Hernandez, Kerkez decided to seek pastures new.

The then 18-year-old left-back joined AZ for just $2m and went on to make 33 appearances for the Dutch club in all competitions. The Hungarian international scored 4 goals and provided 7 assists during that period and became one of the most sought-after young players in football.

Now with his Bournemouth transfer all but confirmed, the Cherries fans will be delighted to have captured such a talented player. His brave mentality is what helps him stand out from the rest and at such a young age, time is definitely on his side to improve on various departments of his game.

Milos Kerkez – Scout report

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Like many modern-day full-backs, Milos Kerkez likes to express himself in the attacking half of the pitch. He had idolised Theo Hernandez and learned a lot from the French left-back during his time at AC Milan.

The Hungarian left-back was also in the CIES list of Top U20 Footballers in 2023 and rightly so. His performances for AZ Alkmaar in the 2022/23 season were nothing short of exceptional. The reason Kerkez fits so perfectly in Iraola’s system is because of the mid-block approach.

The Hungary international likes making bombarding runs in the opponent’s defensive half and rarely likes tracking back for defensive duties. This weakness of his is nullified with Iraola’s mid-block approach and will help Kerkez maximise his abilities.

One unique asset of Kerkez is his late arrival in the box and shooting technique – something like what Marcos Alonso did during his time at Chelsea. Kerkez likes getting into the box at the end of deliveries and burning the ball into the opposition net.

This is all the more useful because of the fact that the fullbacks will be given attacking freedom under Iraola. Milos Kerkez might be just 19 but if his career so far is anything to go by, the Hungarian is building something special at the Vitality Stadium.

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