Bojinov completes Parma move

posted recently about the effect recent signings could have on the players that Mark Hughes brought to the club, but one of the few remaining Sven-Goran Eriksson purchases severed ties with the club today as it was confirmed that after a successful spell on loan in 2009/10, Valeri Bojinov has joined Serie A side Parma on a permanent basis.

The fee is believed to be around £5 million and more or less recoups what the club paid for him almost three years ago. The move leaves Javi Garrido as the only remaining signing that the Swede made during that hectic summer that saw the make up of the side completely overhauled in a matter of weeks.

Given he made only a handful of appearances for the club, he was held in great esteem, often the case as players out of the side can see their reputations enhanced as a mystique can develop around them. This was not the case though with Bojinov as there was a huge amount of sympathy for the struggles he went through and a real acknowledgement that he was a quality player.

Being a long time fan of Serie A, I had seen plenty of Bojinov since he emerged as a fifteen year old with Lecce (the youngest ever foreigner in Serie A) and knew he possessed traits that could make him a success.

Short, squat and possessing a spiky character (that saw him encounter problems at Fiorentina), he also had an eye for goal and had the promise of being able to make that difficult transition from Serie A to the Premier League -  a path littered with many failures.

Unfortunately, Bojinov's time at the club was marred by two serious injuries which all but wiped out two successive seasons. Firstly, the knee injury suffered on his first start for the club in the home derby - a matter of minutes into the game which put paid to the remainder of the 2007/08 season.

He worked himself back to full fitness and it was evident that Mark Hughes was an admirer. Bojinov featuring heavily in pre-season (including the winner at home to Milan) and despite Hughes's signings in the summer of 2008, Bojinov looked set for a starting role.

Tragedy was again to strike however. On opening day 2008/09, Bojinov was named in the starting line up at Villa Park but ruptured his achilles in the warm up. Such a cruel turn for a player desperate to make his City career a success.

Again he fought back. Long hours in the gym and training pitch saw a return towards the end of the season. Hughes bringing him along slowly, limiting his playing time despite a lack of quality in attack. He did however strike his first (and prove to be solitary) City goal in an away defeat at Tottenham.

The summer of 2009 saw the big money arrivals - Tevez, Adebayor and Santa Cruz and Bojinov slipped down the pecking order. A loan deal was struck with Parma - it was hoped that going back to familiar environment and getting a full season of football behind him could reinvigorate his career and see him return to the club to start his time again.

It was a forlorn hope however and after a successful season at the Ennio Tardini (their first back in Serie A), it was evident that both club and player had moved on and despite reports of him receiving other offers he opted to remain with Parma, bringing a close to a frustrating and unfulfilled spell at the club.

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