It is a chain of events that happens all to often in soccer.
A club agrees a transfer for an attacking player, and fans flock to the Internet to check out the artistic video compilations made specifically by the countless unnamed. The clips perhaps show off some dazzling skill, or innate speed; and, more often than not, the astonishing goals the new man is capable of.
The excitement grows throughout the initial press conference, and the first training session. The day of the debut comes and goes, and little is seen from the new signing apart from the occasional flash of a first touch which has the crowd humming with anticipation.
The first season peters out, the player merely a bit part man, failing to take his chance to shine. But the seed remains, the interest with the player endures, and is passed onto the next club that decides to take a chance on him. Yet they never get out of first gear, only rarely displaying the raw ability found in such impressive videos on the web.
Years later, that same player comes up in conversation. The memory claws back the image, the man appearing from the bench, or mainly sat on it; the newspaper articles, the criticism and the eventual transfer away. The internet is again searched to find the current team with the necessary faith to take them on. And the subject is left, as will the player once more, sailing off into the sunset looking for pastures new, and a place to finally call home.
Here’s a short list of the drifters in the world of soccer, the ones who possess the talent, but fail to live up to the hype:
3. Valeri Bojinov, Striker
The balding, bulky Bulgarian washed up on English shores with Manchester City in 2007. A Sven Goran Eriksson signing made a year before the Abu Dhabi takeover at City, there was significant talk of his goal scoring ability, and knack for lighting up matches.
European football reporter Dave Farrar even forecast that Bojinov would “light up the Premier League.”
“Bojinov’s got all the talent in the world,” Farrar told the BBC,
“He’s one of those players around whom there is always something happening. He’s a fun signing.”
There was certainly cause for excitement over the new man. After making his Serie A debut at just 15 for Lecce, Bojinov had since played for Italian giants, Fiorentina and the then-relegated Juventus. Still only 21, this was Bojinov’s real chance at hitting the big-time.