Stoke City bought 24-year-old from Barcelona last summer and the Spaniard was an immediate success in England. The winger had adapted quickly to life in the Premier League and had scored five goals in 10 matches before picking up a season-ending injury in the Potters’ 4-1 victory over Rochdale in the FA Cup.
Mark Hughes’ side suddenly found themselves among the favourites for Europa League qualification and the Potters will be hopeful that the Spaniard can return to the player he was prior to his cruciate ligament injury and ensure that he regains his fitness in advance of Stoke’s opening Premier League game next year. Here are just a few reasons why the forward is so instrumental for the Potters and why he is set to make a huge impact on his return to the side at the start of next season.
The Spaniard offers Stoke another attacking option. Bojan’s movement and ability to drift into the ‘number 10’ area of the field makes him almost impossible to man mark. The 24-year-old is exceptionally talented and likes the freedom of playing just off the striker, allowing him to drop off and pick the ball up in deeper areas but also exploit defences in dangerous areas. The Spaniard is versatile and can feature in wider areas too, offering Mark Hughes another deadly attacking option. His qualities enable the manager to switch formations without needing to make a substitution – a key aspect of modern football.
One of Bojan’s greatest attributes is the ability to unlock a defence. The Spaniard created more chances throughout the opening half of the season than any of his team-mates and there is no doubt that the Potters have missed Bojan’s creativity throughout the second half of the campaign. Hughes’ side no longer rely on long-ball tactics and are more than capable of playing a new brand of football that ensures Stoke maintain possession more often.
His pace is particularly useful on the break in away games. Stoke have certainly missed Bojan throughout the course of the season, but have perhaps missed him most in some of their matches away from the Britannia Stadium. In the 12 Premier League away matches prior to his injury, the Potters picked up 15 points – including victories at Manchester City, Tottenham and Everton. Without the Spaniard, they have played six games and picked up just five points – beating Aston Villa in February, while drawing with West Ham and Newcastle.
Bojan’s ability to support his team-mates on the counter attack played a huge role in Stoke’s original success away from home. The 24-year-old provides speed, intelligence and creativity in attack, and played influential roles in Stoke’s away day success earlier in the season. Mark Hughes will be relishing the prospect of both Mame Biram Diouf and Bojan lining up in the same strike force once again, and the two will continue to cause problems for some of the division’s best defensive units.
They must not rush him back or they risk losing him to injury again. Although Mark Hughes will be eager for the Spaniard to return to the action as soon as people, the Stoke medical team will went to ensure that Bojan has fully recovered before he is allowed to feature for the first team. The 24-year-old may play a number of matches for the under-21 side in order to improve his fitness and then a number of cameo appearances as a substitute would certainly help him to regain match sharpness. The former Barcelona winger is obviously talented, and it would be a travesty to see him continue to suffer niggling injury issues throughout what could be an illustrious individual career.