La Liga

Sir Alex All Set To Swoop For New Stiker

You have to be something exceptional to break a record previously held by Argentine wizard Lionel Messi.

At the grand old age of 17 years and 53 days, Bojan Krkic did just that when he became Barcelona’s youngest ever goal-scorer. It was a feat that compelled many managers around Europe, including Sir Alex Ferguson, to sit up and take note.

Bojan, now 19, is still used sparingly by the Catalan giants. With names such as the aforementioned Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry all having featured ahead of the Serbian born Spaniard, it’s perhaps unsurprising that most of his appearances have come from the substitute bench. Now add to that list David Villa.

The arrival of the £34m man may subtly indicate Pep Guardiola’s willingness to let the diminutive forward go; the club certainly has a surplus of quality in the final third. Added to the quality already mentioned, the club has also got a plethora of budding attacking talent coming through the youth infrastructure. Pedro has already comfortably eased his way into Guardiola’s plans and Jeffren Suarez appears set to have an increasingly significant role next season. Neither is exactly from the same mould as Bojan, but the fluidity of Barcelona’s play doesn’t make that a necessity.

Ferguson meanwhile will be cautious over the slight youngster’s ability to deal with the physicality of the Premier League; but plucking the forward at such an early age could give Ferguson time to reassemble the front-man into a much sturdier, combative shape. Whether time will be available for his reconstruction should Dimitar Berbatov’s form and Michael Owen’s injury problems continue to frustrate is another question.

What shouldn’t be doubted, however, is the Spaniard’s ability. His limited appearances in Barcelona’s first team have given the striker little opportunity to publicly promote his worth. The statistic that Bojan has managed only 20 goals in 76 appearances for the club is enormously deceiving. For Barcelona B he notched up 10 goals in 22; for Spain U-17’s he hit the mark 16 times in 20 games and was the 2007 European U-17 Championship’s stand-out player; and during seven years in Barcelona’s youth set-up, Bojan hit an incredible 889 goals.

He’s a formidable finisher, technically gifted and can accelerate with the ball cemented at his feet to devastating effect. “There are only a few players who have a magical touch,” commented Pep Guardiola during his time with Barcelona’s B team, “and Bojan is one of them.”

Manchester United are rumoured to have valued the player at £12m.

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