Liverpool, Stoke and three other possible destinations for Bojan Krkic
Richard Potter takes a look at five possible destinations for forgotten Barcelona man Bojan Krkic this summer
Barcelona could be set for a major clear-out this summer, with Ibrahim Afellay, Alex Song, Cristian Tello, Isaac Cuenca, Oier Olazabal and Bojan Krkic among the names linked with moves away from Camp Nou.
The case of Krkic is a curious one, after he displayed such promise in his teenage years at Barcelona.
Now 23, he has spent the last three seasons out on loan, two thirds of that time in Italy with Roma then a stint at AC Milan – and lastly at Dutch champions Ajax, where he helped Frank De Boer’s young side claim a fourth consecutive Eredivisie title.
Bojan has a year left on his Barcelona contract but it looks likely that the La Masia graduate will cut ties with his boyhood club for a future on pastures new after an extended period in loan-market purgatory.
Here are five possible destinations for Bojan this summer.
Arsene Wenger has shown his willingness to strengthen up front with the capture of Alexis Sanchez to ease the burden on Olivier Giroud. With added strength comes an air of revitalisation – Nicklas Bendtner has been released by the club and Costa Rica sensation Joel Campbell looks set to get his chance in the Gunners’ first team after time spent on loan in France, Spain and Greece prior to a work permit being granted. Under the guidance of Wenger, Bojan may return to the Krkic of old. Perhaps a further addition from Catalonia would add an extra dimension to the Arsenal attack?
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has wasted little time in bolstering his Liverpool squad ahead of their return to Europe’s premier club competition next season. Following the departure of Luis Suarez for a princely sum of £75m, it is widely expected that Rodgers will make more signings in the next few weeks after securing the services of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Emre Can so far. Speculation is that deals for Belgian Divock Origi and Serb Lazar Markovic are close, Bojan, who was touted as a £5m target for the Merseyside outfit earlier this year, is another name being linked with the Anfield club this summer.
With all due respect to Stoke City, this would seem a strange move for Bojan. Word on the street suggests Stoke have submitted a loan offer for the season. If accepted, he will be allowed to leave Barcelona on a free transfer when his contract with the Catalan club expires next summer. However, although a move to England may be a new challenge, the idea of another a loan deal must seem like a broken record. Aged 23, he will now surely be looking to cement his place in a team for the next few years. The detractors, however, would have you believe that he has already peaked and that a deal with Stoke is evidence of just how far Bojan’s career has faltered.
The Greek outfit is another team keeping tabs on a player who has notched up over 100 appearances for Barcelona. Olympiakos are searching for a replacement for Arsenal-bound Joel Campbell to shore up their front line. It’s rumoured that the Greeks have tabled an offer for the striker.
Remain in Spain
European interest is thought to be high in a player who first burst onto the scene as a talented 17-year-old. Along with Olympiakos, a number of Spanish clubs are interested in his signature, including Malaga and Deportivo, with the hope of bringing the player back to La Liga after three nomadic years in the wilderness. For a player of Bojan’s frame and physical attributes, the chance to resurrect his career in a country he knows better than any other and a playing style that would complement his talent seems like a perfect fit. In recent years, we’ve seen the likes of Giovanni Dos Santos try his luck in England but not quite settle. Since returning to Spanish football, (firstly on loan with Racing Santander, then Real Mallorca, where he was their stand-out player despite relegation, and now at Villarreal, where he’s playing his best football since leaving Camp Nou), Dos Santos is the ideal case study for Krkic to map out a comeback and hit the heights he was expected to reach.