Arsenal News: Arsenal’s scouts were in Croatia on Thursday, looking for prospective midfield reinforcements, and they may have liked what they saw.
The team of Zlatko Dalic defeated Denmark 2-1 to take first place in the group. While Manchester United supporters cheered for Christian Eriksen’s long-range equaliser, Lovro Majer, the player Arsenal scouts were there to observe, scored the game-winning goal.
Majer has made headlines since scoring his first goal for his country in November 2021. Here, Mirror Football has done a closer examination of the 24-year-old who has a £44 million valuation and is often likened to fellow countryman Luka Modric, not only because their last names are the same.
Majer, who was born in 1998, earned his top-flight and European debuts at the age of just 18. His first professional club was Lokomotiva Zagreb, where he made his debut in an August 2016 Europa League qualifier. He sat on the sidelines as his team lost a play-off against a Genk squad that included future Premier League stars Wilfred Ndidi, Leon Bailey, and Leandro Trossard.
Arsenal News: Rapid rise of Majer
A few months later, as Lokomotiva defeated Slaven Belupo, Majer scored his first goal as a senior. He also contributed two assists. With three goals and 10 assists in the league, he finished the season with a goal involvement every 122 minutes (according to FBRef), and he contributed to his team’s fifth-place finish.
Majer received his first senior cap for Croatia during that comeback when he was given time off the bench against Mexico in May 2017 by then-manager Ante Cacic. In the 2-1 victory, he took Duje Cop’s spot as the goal scorer, but he would have to wait another four years for his next senior cap.
However, Majer has now been able to be seen in action for England supporters. He was a member of the Croatia under-21 team that played the Young Lions to a 3-3 draw at the Euros in 2019 and assisted Domagoj Brdaric in scoring against them in the same competition two years later.
He has been strutting his thing back home in the interim, netting 11 goals for Lokomotiva in the 2017–18 season, which earned him a €2.5 million transfer to Dinamo Zagreb. Though it didn’t happen right away, his play there led to comparisons to Luka Modric, another ex-Dinamo star.
The competition was ferocious at the time, in Majer’s defence. Dani Olmo was a playmaker who had received senior Spain prominence while playing for Spain, making it difficult for anyone to surpass him at the time. However, Olmo’s departure in 2020 gave Majer the opportunity to really shine.
Kajer’s contribution to the title win
Dinamo easily won the title, eight points ahead of their closest rivals, thanks to his performances throughout the 2020–21 season. He also performed admirably in the Europa League, lending a hand as Dinamo shocked Spurs in the round of 16, but ultimately lost to eventual champions Villarreal in the quarterfinals.
The 2018 World Cup finalists were still on track to qualify for this year’s tournament when Majer came off the bench in a win over Slovakia. Majer was getting closer to rejoining the international fold at this juncture.
Soon after, he scored his first goals as a senior, including two in a 7-1 victory away to Malta, and Croatia secured their berth in Qatar by beating out Russia for first place in their group.
Both the form and his adaptability attracted attention. Indeed, former France international and Rennes technical director Florian Maurice noted Majer’s versatility while securing a deal for him worth an initial €12 million.