Writer: Lloyd Reddin
Date:Tuesday August 12 2014
There`s been an old age question since his emergence on the grand stage…
Can Lionel Messi do it on a cold, wet windy Wednesday night in Stoke?
Bojan Krkic was once dubbed as the 'new Messi` not many moons ago and now has the opportunity to help answer the question.
We`re unlikely to get a definite answer any time soon as Stoke don`t play on a Wednesday night at the Britannia Stadium until Manchester City arrive in February but they do play Newcastle United on a Monday night in September , which will undoubtedly be a wet, blustery evening.
Bojan is set to experience the Britannia Stadium though in a competitive game for the first time at the weekend, when the Potters welcome Aston Villa to the Britannia Stadium. The weather is forecasted to be its stereotypical opening day self though, with bright spells and not a drop of rain in sight. The 23-year-old forward will have to deal with the usual wind that is trapped between the Britannia Stadium stands that usually engulfs the pitch though.
Since being christened the 'new Messi`, the Spaniard has struggled to live up to his early promise. Whilst in the Barcelona youth system, he managed to outscore Messi, amassing an amazing 900 goals. After breaking into the Barcelona first team, becoming Barca`s youngest ever La Liga player, Krkic hit the ground running, scoring 10 goals in his debut season; beating Real Madrid legend Raul`s record for goals in a breakthrough season.
Unfortunately, the Spaniard, who has been capped once for his country, fell down the pecking order after failing to break the 10 goal barrier for the next three seasons and moved to Roma. He only spent one season at Roma, before moving to AC Milan on-loan for a season.
Barcelona came back in for Bojan after he scored 20 goals in 52 appearances in Serie A and activated a buy-back clause.
Once again though, he failed to break his way back into the first team and was sent out on loan immediately to Ajax, where he struggled, scoring only 7 goals in 24 appearances, although he won the Eredivisie league title whilst in Holland.
With his contract running out next summer, Stoke pounced and fought off competition from other clubs on the continent to bring him to sunny Staffordshire, with the help of Mark Hughes` contacts from previously playing at the Nou Camp.
It`s only early days, but Bojan has seemed to have settled very easily into life in England. He has slotted into his former Barca teammate, Marc Muniesa`s, friend group and has been seen talking and joking with the rest of the squad.
On his first day, Marco Arnautovic was seen throwing the youngster into a river, in what seemed to be the Austrian`s idea of an initiation.
Bojan has definitely hit the ground running for the Potters, scoring 3 goals in 5 appearances for Stoke in pre-season, but Stoke will know to keep their feet firmly on the ground, as they`ve seen good pre-season`s be false dawns before, we only have to look at the disaster that was Bruce Dyer.
One of the issues that Krkic might suffer from is his ability to acclimatise. He has so far been away in sunny Germany and Switzerland, and then made a handful of appearances in the uncharacteristically warm summer atmosphere here in the British Isles, but will he be able to hack the rain, wind and snow?
The son of former Serbian professional footballer Bojan Krikic Sr will also have to adapt to the cuisine, with less Paella and more Oatcakes whilst he`s situated in Staffordshire.
A main talking point after his addition is his ability to adjust to the more physical English game. He only stands at 5ft 7in tall and weighs 65kg, so will he be able to come out of challenges from the likes of John Terry and still have the nous to continue on his game?
He could possibly become a luxury player just like Robinho did for Manchester City, fantastic at home, but when the going gets tough away from home, goes missing and is no use to the team.
I`m sure he`s already trying to adjust to the physicality as he has no choice with the likes of Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross up against him in training.
The purchase of Bojan has ignited massive interest and anticipation from not just Stoke fans, but the whole Premier League, with the Spaniard being tipped to be one of the signings of the summer.
Can he finally fulfil his early potential of a genuine match winning superstar or will he be another player that flops in the Premier League?
Date:Tuesday August 12 2014
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