Benfica were heavily linked with a move for Swiss international striker Haris Seferović in November, and now, on the eve of the January transfer window, the rumours have resurfaced. Read on for a report on the Eintracht Frankfurt forward, compiled with the help of Brian M Sanders, Bundesliga columnist for Prost Amerika.
Seferović's family originate from Bosnia & Herzegovina (then known as Yugoslavia), but emigrated to Switzerland in the late 1980s. Haris was born in central Switzerland in 1992. Still only 24, the forward has already had something of a nomadic career, playing for Grasshopper Zurich and Neuchâtel Xamax in his homeland; Fiorentina, Lecce and Novara in Italy; Real Sociedad in Spain; and Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany. He has only reached double figures in a season twice in his career, netting 10 goals in 18 games for Serie B's Novara in 2012/13, and 11 in 34 for Frankfurt in 2014/15.
Since his relatively productive debut season at Eintracht, Seferović has added just 6 goals in 46 appearances. Disliked by the fans for his lack of goals, he finally won their hearts by scoring the winning goal in Eintracht's 2015/16 relegation play-off against Nürnberg. This season he has been used predominantly as a substitute, starting just six games prior to Christmas. Despite his indifferent form at club level, he remains an integral part of the Swiss national side. He has amassed 38 caps since his debut in February 2013, representing his country at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016.
Seferović is a tall and physical centre-forward that can operate with his back to goal and hold up the play. He is not afraid of a physical battle, as illustrated by the 20 yellow cards he has collected in 80 games for Frankfurt. He is unusually quick for a target man and is able to skip past defenders; consequently, he is occasionally deployed on the wing.
Benfica fans might notice a resemblance to Óscar Cardozo, another left-footed frontman. Seferović has more pace than the Paraguayan, but is less ruthless in front of goal.
Seferović is a tactically astute, committed and unselfish player that works hard for the team both with and without the ball. He is a decent finisher, but needs to play for a coach that will give him a regular starting berth. At Eintracht he is a useful member of the squad, but not a 15 to 20 goal-a-year player. He is strong in the air and a very good header of the ball.
His main weakness would be confidence. He needs to feel wanted. I think this is more about the coach than anything else. Is Rui Vitória the man to bring the best out of him? He has played for seven clubs during his professional career, but has rarely settled anywhere or nailed down a starting place.
Seferović has been linked with Sporting, Porto and various Premier League clubs in the past, but only Benfica are believed to be in the hunt for him this winter. Interestingly, the player shares his agent with Ljubomir Fejsa, Luka Jović, Filip Đuričić and Lazar Marković.
The Swiss striker's contracts expires at the end of the current season, at which point he could move to another club on a free transfer. If anyone wanted to sign him immediately, he could be available for as little as €2 million. The German press believes that Seferović is willing to fight for his place at Frankfurt, and that the club are keen to tie him down with a new contract. O Jogo, however, reports that the forward will arrive in Portugal in July.
How he would fit in at Benfica
It is difficult to see how Seferović would get a game at the Estádio da Luz. Raúl Jiménez and Kostas Mitroglou have both been scoring goals this season, and neither has been linked with a move away from the club. Gonçalo Guedes may be coveted by Valencia and PSG, but he and Seferović could hardly be more different as players. Would the 24-year old really be willing to trade Frankfurt's bench for Benfica's?
Likelihood of a move to Lisbon
3/10. When word of Benfica's interest first spread back in November, Eintracht's Sporting Director Fredi Bobic played down the rumours in conversation with Bild: "We definitely had no talks with Benfica on Seferović. If anything, we want to sign him on a new contract, and keep him playing with us. Sure, I've been in Lisbon, networking. Clubs like Benfica have got a giant squad, and it's always useful to keep in touch with them". Given these quotes, it seems very possible that the player's representatives are using the Benfica rumours to drum up interest in their client.
Full name: Haris Seferović
DOB: Feburary 22nd 1992 (Age 24)
Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
Height: 1.85 m
Preferred foot: Left