Manchester City’s Bosnian misfit could be set for a move to AC Milan – but will agreeing a move to the San Siro prove a pizza cake or a catwalk too far for the Blues?
While the likes of Mario Balotelli and David Silva were busy over the last month on Euro 2012 duty, somewhere else in Europe another big name striker was busy contemplating his future with Manchester City.
Edin Dzeko came to the Eastlands for a whopping £27 million back in January 2011 with big hopes and a big reputation. In four seasons at previous club Wolfsburg, the Bosnian had established himself as one of Europe’s brightest young stars, amassing 66 goals in 111 games and playing a pivotal role in the Wolves’ first-ever Bundesliga success.
The world was at his feet with a wealth of clubs vying for his signature. But for all the fanfare surrounding a potential transfer, one club emerged as strong contenders to land the striker.
Born in the war-torn city of Sarajevo, Dzeko often watched games on his television set featuring his hero Andriy Shevchenko. The Bosnian was a huge fan of the Ukrainian star, even going as far as hanging a jersey worn by the player during his days with AC Milan.
So it was, that when the world’s biggest clubs came calling, Dzeko only appeared to have eyes for the Rossoneri. Speaking in an interview with ESPN back in July 2009, the striker spoke in glowing terms about the club he had “always dreamed about”.
“I was fascinated with this club from when I was a little boy. I don't know why, but AC Milan was always the biggest team in the world for me. I always wanted to go there,” he told reporters.
He appeared the ideal fit for the club too, who were looking for another striker to bolster their front line in the years before the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
However there was a stumbling block for any move – the price tag. At the age of just 23 and with a long career ahead of him Wolfsburg placed a hefty price tag on the player’s head that ultimately saw AC Milan explore other options, with Manchester City moving in to sign up the player.
What followed was a stop start career for the Bosnian at the Etihad, with an indifferent end to the 2011 campaign raising alarm bells for fans and pundits alike.
To Dzeko’s credit, the campaign that just passed saw the player knuckle down and enjoy a relatively healthy return of 14 goals in 28 games. However with Mario Balotelli still a favourite in the eyes of Roberto Mancini and the developing partnership between Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez emerging, the 26-year-old is reportedly agitating for a move.
Enter AC Milan, who are no strangers to picking up the pieces on failed big-money moves, having purchased Robinho and the previously-mentioned Ibrahimovic under similar circumstances.
For Dzeko meanwhile, the move offers a second chance at his dream of playing for Diavolo, in a league that may well suit his more traditional striking sensibilities.
The move could prove key for City’s summer plans too, with Mancini unlikely to have given up hope of landing want-away Arsenal star Robin Van Persie.
Much will depend on the price attached to the star, with City eager to recoup as much as they can on their initial outlay, while AC Milan are notorious for playing hardball in transfer negotiations and have made no secret of their financial woes, having previously considered selling off prized asset Thiago Silva.
A structured deal worth £19 million over four years could be one option, but with the City boss previously denying that Dzeko would leave Eastlands, is the sale of a solid squad player like the Bosnian a smart move given the volatility of other players like Tevez and Balotelli?
For now, it seems that Edin may have to dream of stepping out at the San Siro a little longer.
Do you think Dzeko should go to AC Milan?