Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Thursday June 11 2009
Last month we called on Mark Hughes to hold on to Felipe Caicedo. This month City's 'Raging Bulgar' Valeri Bojinov is the young striker we're recommending must stay...
We may well have some deadwood in the City squad up front and it's due to be shipped out once the gaffer is content with the signings he's brought in, but we also have some rich promise in there too which The Blues would do well to secure.
Of course, the news wires remain full of the superstar striker signings City are clearly in for. Talks continue with Barcelona over the brilliant Samuel Eto'o and Kiavash Joorabchian's Carlos Tevez remains very much on the radar.
The latest multi-millionaire to be talked up is the surly Didier 'it's an effing disgrace' Drogba. No doubt once he publicly says 'no thanks' to the rumours he'll be the next to be inexplicably fawned over by the hacks for admirably turning down 'City's millions.'
Looking at City's striking options as they stand today, we are surely looking at the departures of Benjani and Darius Vassell. I'd go further to suggest Ched Evans joins them. None of these players when brought on as a substitute have ever turned a game in our favour.
The hapless Jo's City future remains very much in doubt and it certainly looks as if Daniel Sturridge has sulked himself into isolation. I don't think anyone across Planet Blue would lose too much sleep if Vass, Benjani, Chedwyn, Jo and Sturridge are gone before our season kicks off at home to, er, Wolverhampton Wanderers?
There's no way in this world or the next that Hughes will jettison the once again knee knacked Craig Bellamy and it's highly likely he will go back for 'Crocky' Santa Cruz before this summer is out.
So assuming the infamous five above head for the taxi rank and with Santa Cruz almost 'definitely maybe,' then you're looking at forward line options consisting of Santa Cruz, Bellamy, Caicedo, Robinho and Bojinov before any other strikers come in.
There's already a varied mix in there of youth and experience which from where I'm typing is handily set up for a domestic competition focused campaign. Of course, you must factor in injury histories and only Caicedo seems to be the strongest of the five hypothetically remaining so it makes sense to bring in the likes of an Eto'o or a Tevez to bolster the options.
The concern with squad rebuilding of the sort Hughesy and his backroom team are currently embarked upon backed by unprecedented funds is that a young player with enormous potential could become overlooked, forgotten or sense he's not going to feature the next season and decide to jump ship. Sturridge has made it clear through his silence where he stands, but the 22 year old Bojinov has declared his will to stick around and give it a go.
The lad has won many admirers among the SportCity faithful for the way he has battled back from two previously career threatening injuries. By all accounts he is brilliant to have around Carrington such is his upbeat outlook. It's clear he has a real bond with City's travelling army too, such was the reaction to his recent brilliant strike at Tottenham.
'I enjoy being here, and I'm very happy with City because they stood by me through injury. I would like to stay, and if I can I will, but you can't guarantee you will play and next season is very important for me...
'...you want to play more games but that depends on the boss. I played 11 games and I enjoyed them, but I need to stay clear of injury, and I need a very good pre-season. Getting the goal at Tottenham was important to me. It was very difficult not to be training and not to be with the team. Every striker loves to score, so I was happy with the goal but not the result. I thought I'd get the winner.'
It's that self belief that if Hughes can harness and then bring the lad on, could save City tens of millions in the transfer market. You don't make your debut in Serie A for Lecce at 15 years old without having something about you. There are many clubs in Italy who would take Bojinov now, let alone many in the Premier League.
However, the signs are good that The Boj will be sticking around to mix up City's attacking options. His agent, Gerry Palomba, having spoken to Hughesy revealed:
'Manchester City have assured me that he remains a key part of their squad. He has been very unfortunate with injury, but they intend to continue the working relationship and have no plans to part.'
Earlier in the season, Mark Hughes himself stated:
'At the moment, Valeri is still an unknown quantity for everybody. He was an outstanding teenager and people paid a lot of money for him because they recognised the ability he had. Unfortunately, his career has hit the buffers because of injuries. I had him in my starting line-up for the first game of the season, that is how highly I rate him.'
Reassuring words for the barrel chested competitor with cult potential.
Despite all the City Globetrotter/ Galactico bollox you hear off many rival fans, hacks and pundits, City Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has made it clear that the intention is for City to develop, nurture and create our own superstars alongside internationally established top quality players.
Bojinov has already shown us what he is capable of and alongside Caicedo could prove to be a key player for Manchester City in the years to come.
A big benefit of City's hierarchy committing to Mark Hughes is that continuity will give the chance that the likes of unfortunate players like Bojinov and Michael Johnson deserve.
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Date:Thursday June 11 2009
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