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scouting

Transfer Profile: Pohang Steelers' Aleksandar Paločević

Transfer Profile: Pohang Steelers' Aleksandar Paločević K League 1
Before the transfer window was fully open, Pohang Steelers moved quickly to add reinforcements to their squad by signing attacking midfielder Aleksandar Paločević from Portuguese Primeira Liga side C.D. Nacional. To gain an insight into what Steelers fan can expect from their new signing, K League United spoke with Goal Point Performance Analyst and Coach Tiago Estêvão.
Image via Pohang Steelers


Aleksandar Paločević, born in Gnjilane, Kosovo, is a Serbian attacking midfielder who began his professional career with OFK Beograd in the third tier of Serbian football in 2011. Whilst with OFK, the 26 year-old made just shy of 50 appearances and scored four goals over a four year spell that included loan spells with FK Sinđelić Beograd in 2011/2012 and FK Voždovac in 2012.

A move to FK Vojvodina followed in 2015 and, after spending two years in Novi Sad and scoring 13 goals in 61 appearances, left his native Serbia to join F.C. Arouca in the Portuguese second division before moving to Nacional a year later.

Speaking exclusively to K League United, Goal Point Performance Analyst and Coach Tiago Estêvão offers his analysis on Pohang's new number 26.

How was Paločević viewed at Nacional? How about league wide? 

I believe he was quite underrated at Nacional. Despite being a pretty large investment for them last summer, he ended up not being an undisputed starter and, despite racking up around 1400 league minutes, he came on from the bench a lot of the time. The results weren't good, Nacional ended up having a rough season in which they got relegated and therefore had a lot of chop-and-change in their line-up, in hopes of trying to find their best combination of players. I think all of that turnover didn't help them see his value much, despite still putting on some decent performances.

What are the strongest aspects of his game? 

Whether he's playing a number eight or 10, he's definitely above average from a technical point of view. He's very good at progressing the ball-forward in midfield: a good ball carrier, good dribbler, and is able to win fouls. He also likes a shot: this season Paločević was in form from outside the box in particular, but I think in a slightly more dominant team you're very likely to see him arrive in good positions in the box as well. He tends to be his team's designated set-piece taker, which are the scenarios which he tends to create more chances for his teammates.

Any weaknesses?

If he's playing as an eight he definitely needs someone who can offer a different type of defensive support alongside him, someone more physical and who can offer more of your classic ball-winner characteristics. If he's playing as a 10 I'd say he doesn't quite create enough from open play - but that could well just have been a consequence of playing in a really poor side here in Portugal this season.

Reason for leaving Nacional?

Nacional got relegated and both his wage and his aspirations are likely too big for the Portugese second tier, which lead to his loan move to Korea.

Where do you think he will be best utilised with Pohang?

It would honestly depend on what kind of system Pohang play and the characteristics of the players around him. I think playing him as more of an eight in a midfield trio could work well. I'd personally like to see him in a team that's slightly more dominant in possession than the ones he's played for over here, since I believe those fit his characteristics better.

Best moment with Nacional?

In mid-December Nacional played away to Sporting and surprisingly managed to grab an early lead. Then, in around the 25th minute mark, Paločević arrived in the box to connect with a header from a cross from the right and make it 2-0 for the Islanders. Nacional ended up losing 5-2 but, in a season filled with despair, they shocked one of the league's big teams for the duration of that first half.

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