Croatian midfielder Mario Pasalic didn't get much attention when he joined Chelsea. Coming from Croatian club Hajduk Split for a reported fee of £3 million in last year's summer transfer window, the 20-year-old player seemed another youngster destined to join the loan brigade as he moved to Spanish club Elche in their struggle to remain in Spain's first division.
Pasalic eventually became an integral part of Elche's squad, starting 26 games in the league and doing the most he could to save the team from relegation. Unfortunately, Elche ended up being relegated for unpaid taxes to the Spanish government, even though they finished 13th in the league. But Mario Pasalic's showings weren't forgotten, as he attracted interest from different clubs until ultimately landing a loan deal with AS Monaco, seemingly as a makeweight for Radamel Falcao's loan to Chelsea.
I am delighted and it all happened like in a movie. On Wednesday I was at the beach and [on Thursday] morning there was Monaco's private jet waiting for me at Split airport!
That's the life of a footballer for you. One day he's taking a day off. On the other, you have a private jet waiting for you to take you back to work again.
The player also spoke about how he sees this loan as a platform to higher heights. And they involve Chelsea's first team.
Chelsea? No, it was not an option. I need to improve, grow and then hope to get a chance with Chelsea
Mario seems to have the right attitude approaching chances with Chelsea. He knows it's a long way to reach the first team, and he knows he has to improve to get there, which is always reassuring to hear from any young player.
We're rooting for you, Mario.