When you ponder the most devastating strike-forces in Europe, many names spring to mind. But as Edin Dzeko prepares for what may be his defining season at Manchester City, not many would consider him a member of such illustrious company.
And yet for a time that was exactly what he was, along with a Brazilian I completely lost track of until today.
During their time at Vfl Wolfsburg, Dzeko and Grafite scored 150 goals between them…in just four seasons.
Actually, for the Bosnian it was just three-and-a-half seasons, because in January 2011 he moved to City for £27million.
But prior to that switch, the partnership of Dzeko and Grafite terrorised defences both in the Bundesliga and across Europe. In the 2008-2009 season, the pair’s 66 goals shot Wolfsburg to their one and only league title to date.
That was as good as it got for the Brazilian, who scored 25 goals in the next two campaigns, compared with his strike-partner’s 40 in 18 months.
In light of the Bosnian’s history, it was no surprise when manager Manuel Pellegrini said, “I spoke with Dzeko before I arrived here and I told him that he will stay here and now, in this year, he must demonstrate the player Manchester City bought two years ago.”
The striker’s early season form suggests he may do just that, but what of the man who once had such an effective partnership with him? Whatever happened to Grafite?
The short answer is he now plays for Al Ahli in the United Arab Emirates, where the other notable name from English football past is ex-Newcastle midfielder Hugo Viana.
That outstanding title-winning season in Germany – during which he scored 32 goals and was the Bundesliga’s top-scorer – was the highlight of a somewhat nomadic career.
Having signed for Al Ahli in 2011, he renewed his contract this summer after two seasons in which he scored 35 goals but failed to win another league title.
That honour went to Al Ain, who are spearheaded by the familiar face and prolific feet of Asamoah Gyan.
And so as Dzeko prepares to show his new boss exactly what he is capable of, his former strike-partner is on a similar mission of his own – with both men aiming to shoot their team to league success.
image: © funnky1opti