Blues & Wigan In Fight For Portsmouth Striker?

A couple of sources have stated that Blues and Wigan Athletic are in for Portsmouth striker Svetoslav Todorov.

I’ve read on a couple of different sites that it’s only going to be a loan deal but with Portsmouth signing Andrew Cole from Manchester City, it might turn out that Todorov is surplus to requirements at Fratton Park. Although Todorov has played in all three league games for Portsmouth this season and has bagged himself two goals.

Todorov is 28 years old and a Bulgarian international. He started his career with Litex Lovech where he scored an impressive 30 goals in 56 apperances. In January 2001 West Ham United, managed by Nodding Dog Redknapp, bid £500,000 for the striker and he ended up starting just four league games for the Hammers before Redknapp left and was replaced by Glen Roeder.

In early 2002, Portsmouth bid £750,000 for Todorov and he duly signed for the south coast club. Graham Rix was manager but Redknapp was director of football and clearly had something to do with the deal since Rix was soon relieved of his duties. Todorov was Division One’s (now The Championship) highest scorer during the season with 26 league goals to his name.

Then disaster struck for the player. He was injured in training and was to spend eight months out of the game. On his return, he lasted less than 45 minutes in a 3-0 defeat to Liverpool and was again out for a prolonged period due to injury.

Overall Todorov has a good scoring record of 33 goals in 54 starts and 22 sub appearances for Portsmouth. It will be the goals that he has scored at second-tier level that will of course interest Steve Bruce and any sort of deal before tonight’s transfer deadline would be a welcome one.

Blues Still In For Charlton Striker

Blues are once again putting plans in place to make a swoop for Charlton Athletic striker Marcus Bent.

At the beginning of the week, Blues had shelved the idea and Steve Bruce has claimed that he expects today to be quiet. Yet Blues have already signed a young Polish goalkeeper and rumours of Mikael Forssell moving to Blackburn Rovers are doing the rounds.

Is Marcus Bent the body that will replace Mikael if he should move to Blackburn Rovers? Or is Shefki Kuqi part of the deal that might see Mikael move to Wrexham Blackburn? A quick search for Kuqi shows that he has been linked with quite a few moves away from Blackburn Rovers this summer.

Earlier this month Stoke City, Wigan Athletic and Blues were noted down as potential suitors and earlier today Norwich City boss Nigel Worthington admitted interest but also suggested that nothing would happen.

Kuqi is the old brother of former Blues striker Njazi (who by the way was released from FC Groningen earlier this month) and well known as a big target-man style of player, probably not too dissimilar to Emile Heskey. You can read more about him here.

But back to Marcus Bent. Last week I asked an Everton friend of mine what he thought of Bent and he was kind enough to write this article for me. Now the deal might be back on, I figured it might be the time to post a few stats about him.

Despite being just 28, Marcus Bent has already represented 9 clubs. He has previously played for Brentford, Crystal Palace, Port Vale, Sheffield United, Blackburn Rovers, Ipswich Town, Leicester City, Everton and Charlton Athletic. His combined transfer fees add up to just over £9m and he has made 368 league appearances – scoring 80 goals at a rate of 1 every five matches.

He first came to the fore during 1999/2000 season when he played for Sheffield United. He scored 20 goals in 48 league appearances over a thirteen month period before Blackburn Rovers came knocking with a bid of £2.1m. He spent just one year at Blackburn – scoring 8 goals from 22 league starts and fifteen sub appearances – before he was on the move again.

Ipswich parted with £3m to secure the striker and he spent the longest portion of his career at any one club at Portman Road – although he did spent the last six months of his deal there on loan at Leicester City! He netted 21 league goals in in 51 starts (plus 10 as sub) for Ipswich and 9 in 28 starts (5 as sub) for Leicester.

He had to move on again and found himself subject to a £450,000 move to Everton. Just over 18 months at Everton and he once again found himself on the move. He scored just seven goals in 62 appearances for Everton but it was enough for current club Charlton Athletic to part with well over £2m for him. Thus far he has bagged himself just 2 goals in 16 appearances. He has appeared as sub for Charlton on 3 occasions so far this season.

Once again I’d urge you to have a read of this article written by an Everton fan about Bent. It seems to line up with Bent’s constant chopping and changing of clubs. He seems to move, do really well for a time and then feel the need to move on and prove himself somewhere else. £2m seems like a hell of a gamble to me if he’s just going to want to move again in a year’s time.

That said, if we’re going to lose Forssell to Blackburn Rovers (I don’t believe that we will) then we’ll need a replacement and at least we know he’ll be good for six months!

Mikael Forssell & Blackburn Rovers

According to a local newspaper, Blackburn Rovers are interested in Blues striker Mikael Forssell.

The former Chelsea striker cost Blues £3m in June 2005. Initially Forssell was on loan at St Andrews during the 2003-04 season. He scored an impressive 17 league goals in 32 starts – he was Chelsea’s highest scoring player that season!

Blues managed to bag the likable Finn for another year on loan but Forssell looked sluggish and it was revealed that he had sufferered knee damage. He subsequently went back to Chelsea and was out of the game for eight months. He came back towards the end of the season and made a small number appearances for the Chelsea first team.

Before joining Blues on loan, Forssell spent time on loan at Crystal Palace (16 goals in 51 league appearances), Borussia Moenchengladbach where he scored seven goals in twelve league starts. However, the German club could not afford the fee to sign Forssell permanently.

Forssell has only ever started six league games for Chelsea but has come off the bench on 27 occasions. He has five goals to his name.

Last season Forssell was Blues joint-top scorer with eight. At the beginning of the season he looked slow and not capable. He had to play a number of times due to Blues only having three senior strikers and when he was played, Blues did not play to his strengths and the Forss was wasted. He made 35 appearances for Blues in all competitions last season.

Over the last 9 months or so, Forssell has shown glimpses of his old self. At times he’ll show his worryingly quick feet and jink past a player and put in a shot. He can be amazingly comfortable with the ball at his feet but without doubt, his biggest asset is, when on form, his finishing. He isn’t a blaster but more of a placer and his deadly accuracy is capable of getting goals at any level.

The worry for Blues fans is whether that knee will ever completely heal. So far it doesn’t look like it has and at times already this season Forssell has looked frustrated and annoyed at not being able to produce his best. There is competition for places up front at Blues this season with DJ Campbell, Nicklas Bendtner (on loan from Arsenal) and Cameron Jerome – with Gary McSheffrey also able to play as a striker.

Personally I’d have for Forssell to go – especially to Blackburn Rovers. There’s a lot of bad blood between the clubs and I think more than Rovers themselves, I hate the idea of Sav thinking that them signing our ‘best’ striker would be a huge kick in the teeth for us. Petty maybe but I really cannot stand such an insincere and dishonest man such as Savage.

I’m still convinced that Forssell can recapture the form that he showed for us on his first stint here. He needs someone to run the channels and create that space as well as getting balls into feet instead of bashed from any old place on the park and expecting him to bring them down and then start his trickery.

I hope this one is just a nasty rumour that will do the rounds. I’ll definitely be staying up to midnight tonight in the hope of this one not coming to fruition.

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You have arrived at the archive site of the Birmingham City blog Joys & Sorrows. If you were looking for fresh, meaty stuff then this way, please.

This section of the site covers the blog portion of J&S from 26th April 2006 - when the site returned after a catastrophic hosting failure causing the loss of over 500 articles - to 28th April 2008 - when I decided to have a prolonged rest from the site.

Here, if it so takes your fancy, you can find every single article, totalling over 1,000, written by myself and many others over that two year period.

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- Aff, 03/08/08.