Valeri Bojinov is something of a forgotten name; a man who arrived in Manchester as a potential part of the City revolution towards honours back in August 2007. Signed for a reported fee of £6 million, the Bulgaria international seemingly had all the attributes to be a star for the ambitious side, but horrendous luck with injuries saw the eastern European forward’s time in England ineffective and his career has plummeted since.
Bojinov has become something of a journeyman since, playing either permanently or on loan for Parma, Lecce, Verona, Vicenza and Sporting Lisbon. After being released by the historic Portuguese outfit, the attacker is now a free agent and seemingly struggling to find a club.
The 27-year-old has been in the headlines over the last couple of days as he saved the life of a man who was having a fit in Bulgarian capital Sofia. Bojinov’s quick thinking to turn the man onto his side and stop him from swallowing his tongue resulted in the player receiving a few bites to his hand, but saving the man’s life.
The Bulgarian will hope that his act of generosity and bravery will bring the European spotlight back onto a player that unfortunately has failed to live up to expectations over his career. Before signing for City, Bojinov cut his teeth in Italy with Lecce and Fiorentina, before spending a season on loan for the then Serie B Juventus.
Bojinov became both the youngest foreign player to make an appearance in Serie A at the tender age of 15, and was also the youngest non-Italian goalscorer in the country’s top flight during his time at Lecce.
His time at in Florence in particular highlighted the eastern European striker’s main physical and technical abilities. A strong forward comfortable leading the line, Bojinov’s ability in the air, vision and clever movement had City fans excited that a new star could well be in the making at Eastlands.
Three games into his career in England, Bojinov suffered a knee ligament injury in the Manchester derby and the striker has never been the same since. Upon his recovery, another long-term ailment, this time an Achilles injury, effectively ended his time at City.
Bojinov fell out with the powers that be at Sporting and was repeatedly loaned out to Italian sides. Released in the summer, he has yet to sign for a new employer. This is relatively understandable given his substantial injury concerns and an attitude that was questioned by Sporting.
Despite the considerable risk, the player could well be an inspired signing for a European club in need of attacking reinforcements. If Bojinov can prove his fitness, a steady amount of game time in reserve fixtures could see him as a player able of playing in one of Europe’s top divisions once more.
Bojinov certainly has never been a lethal marksman, and has failed to hit double figures in a single season at top level. Undoubtedly a team player and a physical force however, there will be few strikers with 42 international caps to their name available on a free transfer at the moment.
Looking for a chance to salvage his career, it remains to be seen which club will take a risk on lifesaver and free agent Bojinov.