By Gautam Sharma
The amusing and amazing success story of Josip Iličić of Palermo...
Yesterday as I was waiting at the payment line at my local ASDA superstore, I spied a packet of Mentos placed within an arms reach. On an almost involuntarily impulse, I added it to my pile of groceries. These evil superstores, they deliberately display such low value, fast moving products near the checkout! Later during the day, while stuck in a bad-ass traffic jam on a rainy london evening, I was glad for my impulse purchase. It did not make the wait any shorter, but it did help sweeten it up a lil bit ;)
Today, I can't help but wonder whether (Palermo President) Zamparini feels the same way about Josip Iličić.
Palermo had more or less completed their transfer business, when a few days before transfer deadline they ran into NK Maribor in the Europa League playoff. 22 year old Iličić impressed with a goal, and the very next day Palermo signed him along with his younger teammate Bacinovic. It doesn't any closer to an impulse purchase near the checkout counter, does it?
Josip Iličić had only just joined NK Maribor this summer, from NK Interblock who now play in the Slovenian 2nd division. He played a handful of games for Maribor, scored a couple of goals to knock out Scottish side Hibernian in Europa League qualifiers. And then scored that goal against Palermo, which influenced Zamparini to imitate my "Mentos" purchase. You could even argue that Iličić stayed in the "shelf" of NK Maribor about the same time you would expect a fast moving product like Mentos would at ASDA!
Since then he has scored against the European Champions Inter, and Italy's most successful domestic club Juventus. Not a bad progression from (the possibility of) the Slovenian 2nd Division to scoring goals against Europe's biggest clubs in just 3 months, eh?
Palermo may not be doing too well in Serie A so far this season. But for Zamparini, the tasty little purchase of Iličić must have surely sweeten things up a lil bit...