I think that Inter should buy him, player is fantastic and he is also most famous Croatian star.
Slaven Bilic, a member of the Croatia team that finished third at France 98 and now national U-21 coach, sees echoes of Lampard's early career in the struggle Kranjcar has faced to win over a sceptical public following his elevation to the senior national side. This scepticism was born out of the fact that the coach who promoted Kranjcar from the U-21s was his own father Zlatko. Kranjcar Sr, himself a former Yugoslavian international midfielder, called his son into the squad after replacing Otto Baric in summer 2004 and immediately handed him a starting place.
Kranjcar's competitive international debut came in Croatia's opening 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ qualifier against Hungary in Zagreb on 4 September last year – just a month after his 20th birthday - and he went on to appear in all but one of their ten fixtures as they progressed to Germany as European Group 8 winners.
According to Bilic, Kranjcar, the only domestic-based regular in Croatia's starting lineup, has "definitely proved himself with the national team" but he concedes it was not easy at first. Recalling his time with a young Lampard during his playing days at West Ham United in England, Bilic compares the two, saying: "I remember it was the same problem for Frank Lampard at West Ham. People were saying Frank was there because his father (Frank Lampard Sr) was assistant manager but look at him now – he's the best player in Europe.
"With Niko, maybe some other coach would not have given him a chance but Croatia have missed that kind of creative player; we used to have (Robert) Prosinecki and (Aljosa) Asanovic but since them we've not had one. Most of our midfielder players are more defensive so we really needed someone."
Hence Kranjcar's rapid elevation - and Croatia's success in qualifying as group winners suggests his father made the right decision. The creator in the five-man Croatian midfield, Kranjcar Jr came into his own as their qualifying campaign reached a climax, scoring and playing a key role in the 3-1 win in Bulgaria on 4 June. He then struck Croatia's goal in the 1-1 friendly draw with Brazil in August before netting his third international goal against Malta
Bilic says: "He proved himself in the national team against some good opponents like Sweden and Bulgaria and he scored against Brazil. He's got a great touch, great skill, great vision and he can finish when he gets near the box."
Youngest Dinamo captain
These qualities were evident from an early age in Kranjcar. Starting out with Dinamo Zagreb, he made history at the club by the legendary Zvonimir Boban as their youngest ever captain. In 2003, Dinamo won the championship and his role was recognised as he finished second in the poll for the best player in the Croatian league.
Although he lifted the Croatian Cup as Dinamo captain in 2004, by the end of the year his relationship with the club had soured and in January 2005, having played 85 games and scored 19 goals in a Dinamo shirt, Kranjcar left for rivals Hajduk Split in a transfer worth 1.5m euros. It was a massive deal in Croatian football - where 100,000 euros is usually regarded as a reasonable outlay – but by the summer he had another championship medal to his name.
Kranjcar started this season by scoring the only goal of the Croatian Super Cup against Rijeka – his extra-time free-kick settling matters – but the first half of 2005/06 has not been a happy time for Hajduk. Still, in Kranjcar, there is no doubting both they and Croatia have a player of vast potential.
Next summer's FIFA World Cup™ finals offer Kranjcar a wonderful platform for realising that potential but, as Bilic says, this is a player with time on his side, whatever happens in Germany. "People forget he is only 21 as he has been playing regularly in the Croatian league for four years now but he has got a long time in front of him."