Youngster Kovačević joins Hoffenheim
For Alexander Rosen, the director of football at TSG, the signing is further proof that "Hoffenheim is internationally regarded as one of the top destinations for talented young footballers to continue their development as players". In this context, Rosen explained, "our clear commitment to an U23 team" is an important factor. Rosen subsequently added "that young players with bright futures can develop with us in a calm setting and in optimal conditions. This not only applies to the professional squad, but also and especially to our youth teams – such as the U23s managed by Marco Wildersinn."
"It continues to be TSG's philosophy to identify and promote regional talents up to U15 level," explained director of youth affairs Dirk Mack. But he added that "nowadays part of being a responsible and professional youth academy at a Bundesliga club involves looking for new signings at competitive level beyond national borders too". Kovačević, who was loaned from Hajduk Split to top-tier rivals NK Rudes between February and the end of last season and made his professional debut for his parent club against Everton in a Europa League qualifier shortly after his 18th birthday in August 2017, "can be deployed across the frontline, has a lot of pace, is a strong dribbler and has great attacking instincts," Mack said.