We still await official confirmation from Montreal Impact, but it looks like former Barcelona Champions League winner Bojan Krkic is on his way to Quebec.
I’ll stress that this transaction is not over the line yet. We‘re dealing only with speculation at this point, but there’s no smoke without fire and the Fire Trucks are revving up.
For those yet unfamiliar with the man once dubbed The New Messi at Barcelona, this is a player of the highest technical ability. He’s played and scored in all the top leagues in Europe; Spain, Italy, England, Germany and won a Dutch Eredivisie title at Ajax, during a loan move paved by the great Johan Cruyff.
He’s been a World Champion, played alongside many of the finest players of a generation, has won four league titles and the UEFA Champions League twice, with Barcelona.
And besides, it’s not just any MLS player who can say, “It’s always easy to score after a pass from Xavi.”
It’s a pedigree unquestionable, but how have we arrived here, where Bojan Krkic is possibly about to join Montreal Impact.
After 850 goals for Barca’s youth teams, Bojan was predicted a long and illustrious career at the Catalan giants. Instead he left at the age of 20 after losing his regular place, despite making 163 first-team appearances.
Pressures of playing at big clubs caused the player anxiety, the very reason why he rejected his first call-up by Spain. But after Barca it was off to Roma and Milan, before returning (technically) to Barcelona. That’s when the loan move to Ajax happened, and after winning the Dutch title it was a permanent move to the English Premiership with unfashionable, Stoke City.
Mark Hughes paid a bargain 1.8m euros for the player. It was here that Bojan really found himself again, and after a shaky start to life in the Potteries, which included a lengthy lay-off due to a knee injury, his career blossomed again.
Alongside the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic, Stoke at times looked irresistible. Yes, just read that again: ‘Stoke City looked irresistible’. No, your eyes do not deceive.
But a couple of years into his English adventure he fell out of favour and was loaned out to Mainz, the former club of Liverpool boss, Jurgen Klopp, and then Alaves, back in La Liga, before returning to Stoke City, by now relegated to England’s second-tier.
It was here that Bojan last played, scoring once in 21 games last season.
There is of course an element of risk around a player who had promised so much and is ultimately perceived to have not reached expectations, even if they were pitched too loftily. But this player’s beauty and effectiveness during the high points of his career would make any purist purr at the thought of watching him regularly.
It’s not hard to argue it’s a risk worth taking, but a little more difficult to remember that such a tempting prospect often clouds judgement.
Amazing after being around so long, the player is still only 29. Should he retain his appetite for the game allied to superlative and unquestioned technical abilities, Bojan and MLS may just be a marriage made in heaven. For if he comes here and hits it off, you can forget your Pozuelo’s, Higuain’s and Lucho Acosta’s, Montreal will be acquiring a play-maker who is undoubtedly a cut above.