Zvonarek currently plays for Slaven Belupo’s first team in the Croatian First Football League (Prva HNL), where he is the league’s youngest goal scorer, even younger than Luka Modric was when he first scored in the league. Bayern is paying €1.8 million to sign Zvonarek, but that fee could potentially rise up to €4-€5 million. The idea is that he will still continue to develop with Belupo (on loan) in the Croatian League before returning to Bayern’s ranks, presumably with the reserve team to start, similar to the path Alphonso Davies took after he transferred from the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Zvonarek was originally discovered by former Belupo manager Tomislav Stipic, who also had brief managerial spells in the Bundesliga with both Ingolstadt and Eintracht Frankfurt youth teams. Ahead of Zvonarek’s move to Bayern, Stipic had nothing but praise for the 16-year-old and said he truly believes he has the ability to be the next Modric. “He has the ability to become the new Luka Modric. He is much further ahead than anyone else at this age. The overall package is sensational. Lovro has game intelligence, quick thinking, a duel, a shot from 30 meters, he can dribble, he can pass,” Stipic lauded.
Zvonarek has already clocked a handful of training sessions at Sabener Strasse at Bayern’s campus in front of Martin Demichelis and Danny Schwarz, both of whom were pleased with what they saw after putting him through the paces. It’s clear that he will be ready for life at Bayern after his loan spell back with Belupo ends.
It was Jochen Sauer, Bayern’s campus head, that had initially made contact with Stipic regarding Zvonarek not long after Stipic had discovered the talent at Belupo when he was only 15 and gave him a chance with the first team. It was also Stipic who drove Zvonarek seven hours to Munich for the first time so that he could train there and be watched by Demichelis, Schwarz and company. Stipic is confident the youngster can take on a path much like Jamal Musiala. “For me he belongs with his ability in the Musiala category, he could go a similar path. He has a good chance of joining the squad next year to join to the first team of FC Bayern,” he boldly claimed.
Even if the transfer fee to Bayern raises to €4-€5 million after Zvonarek’s loan spell back at Belupo, Stipic firmly believes it will be money very well spent by Bayern. There is certainly always an element of risk associated with this sort of investment plan on a young talent, but it’s not often that players are touted to be the next Luka Modric. “Lovro recognizes the spaces, he recognizes the position of his teammates. He simply processes the game faster than the other players, he reads the game quickly, he’s incredibly complete. This gives him a head start in terms of movement,” Stipic continued in his glowing assessment of the 16-year-old.