Date: 23rd March 2011 at 6:00pm
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Earlier on this season it was reported that Chelsea had struck a collaboration deal with Slovenian outfit NK Maribor, who have an impressive youth setup and the Blues could start to reap the rewards of the partnership deal by signing promising young defender Luka Krajnc.

The towering centre-back is only 16-years-old, but is already standing out amongst his peers and has started to attract interest from a number of European clubs, including Chelsea, AC Milan, Inter, Juventus, Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers.

But Chelsea reportedly have first refusal on the player and could sign him this summer for as little as £130,000, so Stamford Bridge could well be the most likely destination for the promising youngster.

Krajnc, touted as the ‘new Alessandro Nesta’ primarily plays in central defence, but can also operate at left fullback and even in midfield, as he is praised for his pace, strength, passing and ability on the ball. He is already part of the first team at Maribor and has represented his country at youth level.

The defender would have a lot to learn as he has yet to play a game at the highest level, but could be one for the future, much like Tomas Kalas, a 17-year-old Czech defender who opted to join Chelsea instead of Arsenal last summer.

As for Maribor’s youth academy, they been enjoying a fair amount of success and have produced promising young players, like Sinisa Andelkovic and Armin Bacinovic, who both now play their trade at Serie A’s Palermo as well as being part of the Slovenian national football team setup. Josip Ilicic also had a brief spell with the Slovenian club before departing for Palermo, and the playmaker has been earning plenty of plaudits in the Italian league, whilst attracting the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham with his impressive performances.

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