Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will be in the market for another forward to add to his ranks next month.
Whilst speculation had intensified in recent weeks surrounding Luis Suarez' future at Anfield, whether the Uruguayan stays or goes, Rodgers is still likely going to require another striker if he intends to challenge for the top four next term.
Rodgers made excellent use if the January transfer window to bring in Daniel Sturridge and attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho who both made promising starts to their Kop careers in 2013.
There are still high hopes that young Fabio Borini can make an impact next term following his return from injury that kept him sidelined for the majority of his debut season.
However, Rodgers may opt to send his scouts to monitor young former Barcelona striker Bojan Krkic (known commonly as 'Bojan') who spent last season on loan at AC Milan after failing to cement his first-team status at the Camp Nou and transferring to Roma.
Despite his mere 22 years, the Spaniard is an exceptional talent and the Catalans had high hopes for their La Masia academy graduate who seemed on course to be a world-beater.
At La Masia he scored an incredible 500 goals before breaking through to Barca’s first-team in 2007 aged just 17 years and 19 days old. He broke records, becoming the youngest ever Barcelona league scorer. His record at international youth level for Spain was on par with the likes of Germany’s Toni Kroos with whom he shared the highest goal tally of the 2007 U17 World Cup.
Whilst things never quite worked out for him in Catalonia, there are extenuating circumstances that must be taken into context - he was expected to compete as a 18-yearold year-old with the likes of Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Villa, to name but a few.
He has made over 100 first-team appearances for Barcelona but that wasn’t enough o earn him opportunities at either Roma at the Stadio Olimpico where he moved for a fee of €12 million two years ago or on loan last term with AC Milan where he fell down the pecking order behind the likes of Stephan El Shaarawy, M'Baye Niang and Mario Balotelli.
He is, despite his lack of opportunities at Barcelona and since at the San Siro, a gifted and accomplished finisher. His value has since plummeted – his contract at the San Siro runs until 2016 but, due to complicated contracts involving Barcelona’s sale and subsequent buy-back clauses, Roma can neither afford to keep him (and pay a further €28 million for him next season) nor sell him as they’re unlikely to recoup their €12 million fee from two years ago.
Someone surely has to be interested in a player of his incredible quality – he needs to find first-team football where he can regain his form and confidence and finally prove to be the world-beater his potential hinted he could be as a youngster.
Perhaps that someone could be Brendan Rodgers who could be the ideal man to develop him at Anfield – his track record of getting the best out of young talents is almost unparalleled and, in Bojan, he would likely find a player willing to work hard, take instruction and fight for his chances.
The Bojan of Barcelona around 2009 looked to be the kind of immense carefree energetic talent than an 18-year-old Michael Owen was. The difference with Bojan’s English counterpart was perhaps that he played too many games for club and country where Bojan has played far too few.
Somewhere in between there is a middle ground and if Rodgers wants to sign a still young player with everything still to prove, he could add him to his ranks for mere pocket change this summer.
AC Milan are reportedly willing to take him off Roma’s hands for as little as €5 million (that’s £4.2 million) but they aren’t likely to play him – it would be yet another waste of his potential to remain in Milan.
If the Reds sell Suarez, they’d have just Sturridge and Borini left to hold the fort and whilst the £50 million in profit they might make could buy a number of more prominent striker targets, they could save themselves a lot of money by taking a chance on Bojan. If Suarez stays, the Spaniard offer an alternative option.
He was hailed as the next David Villa and, from some of the goals he scored at Barcelona; it’s easy to see why. He just needs to be given the kind of game-time his elder compatriot had in his youth to prove his talent.
image: © tpower1978