According to Moscow Spartak’s young Macedonian defender Igor Mitrevski, there is every possibility he will have his own peg in Bayern Munich’s dressing-room next season.
‘The people at Bayern thought I played well in Spartak’s Champions League games against them and have offered œ1.7million for me,’ revealed the 22-year-old, who is equally at home as a sweeper or as an orthodox central defensive marker.
‘Both Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld and their president, Franz Beckenbauer, want me, and though I don’t know how talks will progress, it is verylikely I will move.’
Mitrevski may have been less discreet about the situation than Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness would have liked, but the German is not likely to call off negotiations in a fit of pique.
Bayern are well aware that a ponderous central defence is their Achilles heel and they will be loathe to lose out on Mitrevski.
The Macedonian is just what Bayern want – a solid, intelligent defender with speed and the ability to bring the ball forward. His youth and value-for-money fee are also attractive features.
Mitrevski has come a long way in a very short space of time. Three months ago he was still on the books of Macedonian club Sileks Kratovo, but was signed by Moscow Spartak coach Oleg Romantsev after he lost patience with his defence – and in particular sweeper Yevgeni Bushmanov – following his side’s 3-0 Champions League defeat by Lyon last December.
The Macedonian was so impressive during a 21-day trial that he was handed a three-year contract and a regular place in Spartak’s starting line-up. Romantsev does not often praise his charges in public, but he lauded Mitrevski in no uncertain manner, saying: ‘He is a very clever defender, strong in the air and very disciplined.’
Although the Russian title-holders went out of the Champions League after finishing bottom of their second phase group, Mitrevski put in some polished performances. He was rewarded with an international debut against the Czech Republic in Skopje in February.
Macedonia national coach Dragan Kanatlarovski described his display as ‘most encouraging’, and rightly so. His performance went a long way towards securing his side a creditable 1-1 draw.
International team-mate Toni Micevski believes there should be many more caps to come. ‘Igor is young and has much to learn, but he has the ability and good temperament to be one of the important names of tomorrow,’ says Micevski, a midfielder for Bundesliga side Energie Cottbus. ‘Is he good enough to play in the Bundesliga? Of course.’
Club Moscow Spartak (Rus)
Born February 19, 1979,in Kicevo
Previous clubs Napredok Kicevo, Sileks Kratovo
International debut February 2001, v Czech Republic
International caps 3 (0 goals)