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In profile: Jan Mlakar joins after success in Slovenia

BRIGHTON & Hove Albion’s Jan Mlakar joins QPR fresh from firing NK Maribor to the Slovenian title.

The young striker signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with Albion in January, but immediately returned to Maribor for the rest of the season to continue his development. It proved to be a wise decision as 15 goals in 36 games back in his homeland saw Mlakar almost single-handedly secure silverware.

Mlakar started his career in Slovenia but it was at Fiorentina where he made his name, progressing through the club’s youth system before making his Serie A debut in 2017.

The 20-year-old made a handful of appearances in the famous purple shirt either side of a brief loan spell with Serie B side Venezia before signing for Maribor. Back on home soil, he featured three times during their qualifying campaign for the UEFA Europa League.

Mlakar has also represented Slovenia’s national team at various youth levels, playing for the Under-16s, Under-17s, Under-19s and Under-21s since making his first appearance in 2014.

He was part of Brighton’s pre-season trip to Austria earlier this month, and follows in the footsteps of fellow Albion frontman Tomer Hemed who spent the 2018-19 season in W12.

Hemed capped his R’s debut with the winner in a 1-0 victory over Wigan Athletic last August and Mlakar will hope to make a similar quick impression ahead of his maiden season in English football.