Nikicia Jelavic

Chinese Super League

TEAM: Guizhou Zhicheng (ON LOAN)

PARENT CLUB: Beijing Renhe

AGE: 31


FORMER TEAM: West Ham United

Nikicia Jelavic started his career at GOSK Gabela in the Bosnian league system. He later moved to Croat club Neretva. He was persuaded to join Hajduk Split at 15 years of age. He made his debut a couple of years later against Prava HNL. Despite his tender age, Jelavic suffered a series of injuries which prevented him from reaching his potential at the club.

Jelavic made the switch to Belgian side Zulte Waregem. He scored 3 goals in 23 appearances in his one and only season there.

Jelavic got his big break when he signed for Austrian Champions Rapid Wien. He scored 7 goals in 24 games in the 2008-09 season. Remarkably he was never booked in the season. The following season was a more prolific one both in terms of goal and bookings. He played in 33 games scoring 18 goals and picking up 5 bookings and getting sent off once.

The summer of 2010 saw Jelavic linked with a move to Rangers in the Scottish League. Despite a fee being agreed in the last week of July, but the transfer was delayed due to a claim by Jelavic about the club not paying him. He eventually moved to Scotland on a £4m move.

Nikicia Jelavic made his debut for Rangers in the league against St. Johnstone. He hit the ground running and scored his first goal in September against Hamilton. He scored a brace in the 7-2 over Dunfermline in the Cup. His second was a stunning overhead kick. The next away match saw Jelavic score the odd goal in a 3-2 over Aberdeen. He suffered an injury to his ankle and missed a few games He returned and scored another brace, this time against Dundee United.

On 12 February 2011, Jelavic scored his first hat-trick for Rangers in a 6-0 demolition job of Motherwell. He continued his good form with another brace and a backheel assist against St Johnstone. That season’s Cup final saw Celtic face Rangers in the fierce Old Firm Derby. Jelavic etched his name in Rangers folklore by scoring the winning goal in extra time. He ended the season scoring 5 goals in the last 6 matches. He was awarded the SFA Goal of the Year for his overhead kick against Aberdeen.

Rangers reportedly rejected a £6.5m bid from Leicester for Jelavic. The season was more like his last season as he scored goals for the club. His performances attracted Premier League attention. He eventually left Rangers for Everton having scored 36 goals in just 55 appearances.

Jelavic scored on his full debut for Everton against Spurs at home. He opened his account in the FA Cup by scoring against Sunderland. He made blitzkrieg start at Everton, scoring a brace at Norwich and Manchester United becoming the fastest Evertonian to 10 goals since 1977-78. Jelavic was named the Premier League Player of the Month for April. On the final day of the campaign, Jelavic scored against Newcastle becoming Everton’s top scorer in the league and overall despite joining on a deadline day deal in January.

Jelavic started the 2012-13 season with goals against Aston Villa, Southampton, Wigan, Sunderland, and Tottenham but his form waned and was replaced by Victor Anichebe as the main striker at the club.

Jelavic left Everton for Hull in order to boost his chances of making the cut in the Croatian team for the World Cup in Brazil. He scored his first goal in 2-0 victory over Sunderland. He had a decent time at Hull and scored 14 times in 46 appearances.

Jelavic made the switch to West Ham but was a bit-part player. He moved to the Chinese League One side Beijing Renhe.

Jelavic was prolific for Renhe but failed to secure promotion to the top flight. He made a loan switch to newly promoted Guizhou Zhicheng in the CSL, for whom he currently plays for. Jelavic’s goals will be very important for Guizhou in their quest to reach pre-season targets.