As far as summer transfers go, the decision by Bojan Krkic to move from La Liga to the English Premiership is hardly unexpected. But what is surprising is his choice of club to move to. Stoke City announced yesterday that the 23 year old has completed his move to the Britannia Stadium for an undisclosed fee on a four year deal. Krkic finalized his switch to The Potteries on Tuesday afternoon after passing a medical and speaking in length with manager Mark Hughes. The transfer will be viewed as somewhat of a coup for Stoke given Krkic’s reputation and past career history.
Born in Spain to Serbian father (former Red Star Belgrade midfielder Bojan Krkic Snr) and Spanish mother, Bojan Jnr joined Barcelona’s famed La Masia youth system aged eight and quickly went on to establish himself as one of the most exciting prospects to ever come through their ranks. With notable dribbling skills and lighting quick pace, Krkic became a goal scoring phenomenon and the all time highest scorer in La Masia history, scoring more than 400 times for the various youth teams. He eventually made his first team debut at 17, breaking yet another record becoming the youngest Barcelona player to feature in a La Liga match. Over the next four years he made 104 appearances for Barca scoring on 26 occasions earning him a call up to the Spanish national team. But despite his promise, he was unable to hold down a permanent spot in the first team, leading to his eventual departure to Italian side, Roma. The sale was agreed by Barcelona on the provision that a buy back clause be inserted into the deal, which they would active two years later. In the meantime Krkic grew his reputation in Italy with a fine debut season for Roma followed by a yearlong loan deal at AC Milan. His return to the Nou Camp was welcomed by the fans who still remembered the player with fondness from his first time at the club. However under new boss Gerardo Martino, Krkic was unable to displace the inform trio of Neymar, Pedro and Messi leading to another loan move, this time to Ajax. Under the management of Frank De Boer, Krkic played his role in helping the Ajax secure a domestic double in the form of the League and Super Cup.
With his stock rising and still aged only 23, Krkic returned to Barcelona this summer for talks with new boss Luis Enrique about his future only to be told that he was unable to give Krkic a starting spot. Having acquired Luis Suarez from Liverpool, Krkic knew his time was up at Barcelona and his agent started work in an attempt to engineer his move away from the Nou Camp. Krkic’s decision to join Stoke is an indication of his desire to play in England and get regular first team football. With Hughes revamping his squad, Krkic will be given this chance as a key component of his new look squad. Having lost his way slightly over the past few years, Krkic will have a chance to resurrect his career and show Barcelona the error of their ways. This time however Barcelona have not inserted a buy back clause meaning that if they are to regret letting Krkic go, they will likely face paying a hefty fee to get him back. Krkic however has no thoughts about returning to Spain right now and is focused on making his move to England successful. If he can recapture the form he showed during his time at La Masia, Stoke may have snapped up the bargain of the season.
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