Bojan’s Big Break

Our magnificent Spaniard is set to light up the Premier League in his best season to date. After having a tough spell being in and out of the side, Bojan is now truly ready to cement himself into the history books at Stoke. Don’t believe me? Well here are my 5 reasons as to why this is Bojan’s big year.

1. A full pre-season

Prior to this campaign Bojan had not completed a full pre-season in the Potteries, and this is clearly something that affects from a players performances do fitness. Way back in 2014 Bojan signed in late July, and entered a squad that had only one compatriot (Marc Muniesa) and must of been a hard place for Bojan to settle into. The ferocity of the Premier League, mixed with a squad that still held a lingering scent of Tony Pulis, was slightly too much for Bojan and he didn’t truly have affect in the league until November. Last preseason was marred with injury as he attempted to make a recovery from his ACL tear. Despite having some involvement it was not in a full capacity, and Bojan was not truly match fit until his heart warming return against Leicester in September. This season he has been with the squad since day one, and the ex Barcelona player will reap the benefits. Clearly Hughes has had a problem with Bojan’s fitness levels, he didn’t complete 90 minutes once last season, and a full preseason will be guaranteed to improve this.

2. Guaranteed starting time

Oddly enough the number 10 position has been one of the most fiercely competitive positions since Bojan signed back in 2014. Initially this competition came from Premier League veteran Stephan Ireland. Ireland was preferred to Bojan due to his slightly less attacking nature, and his guile and knowledge of the league which Bojan lacked. Last season Bojan’s competition came from Afellay and Mark Hughes use of the 433 system. Due to a vulnerable defence Bojan was consider too aggressive and instead Afellay or Imbula were used in a deeper role. With both Ireland and Afellay out injured, Bojan is widely expected to be one of the first names on the team sheet, and a good run of games (where he isn’t pulled off at the 60th minute every time) will allow him to find form and flourish.

3. Maturity

Bojan has now reached the age of 25, and is beginning to grow into a mature player and is one of the senior figures in the dressing room. Due to his early start Bojan has been playing competitive first team football for 8 years now, and should be entering the peak of his career. The Argentinian Bojan (some bloke called Messi) had his most prolific season of his career, scoring over 50 goals in one season for the first time, at the age of 25. Bojan’s experience is clearly something that will add to the squad, especially with the young players coming through and learning from him. But it will also have affect on the pitch, one simply has to look at his commanding performance against Orlando to see just how easily he dealt with an opposition who were not of his quality. As he reaches an age of peak development his performances on the pitch will no doubt show this maturity and quality.

4. Stoke’s best attack ever.

If you don’t believe that a midfield and attack worth well over 50 million pounds (counting Arnie’s worth by his previous release clause of 12.5m) then I challenge you to find me better. 3 full internationals who are essential to their national sides, one of which reached the semi’s of the Euro’s and another who has a World Cup hat trick and Euro goal of the tournament to his name. This abundance of quality, which has been recruited by Sparky, is sure to provide Bojan with the support required for him to have a fantastic season. Couple this with the fact that Stoke seem set on spending upwards of 20 million on a new striker, and it is clear Bojan will shine. A striker who can provide 15 goals a season will ease the pressure on the Spaniard, and as such he will be able to find potentially the best form of his career.

5. 3rd year under Sparky

Let’s play a quick game of guess who, this footballer signed for the Potters after struggling to truly assert himself in several of Europe’s top teams and in his first two seasons at Stoke showed glimpses of how magnificent he could be, but struggled with consistency.

If you answered either Marko Arnautovic or Bojan then you are correct. It is clear that both have had a similar spell at Stoke. After joining the Potters both had 2 seasons of promise, teasing us with the ability they can show, but failing to present it week in week out. Arnie’s first two season saw him competing with Assaidi and Moses, which either saw him dropped or moved out to his less preferred right wing. Bojan, meanwhile, struggled with adapting to the Premier League and injury in his first season, and his second saw him struggle to retain his starting spot due to stiff competition from Afellay. Obviously it is not guaranteed that Bojan will have the same kind of pivotal third season as Marko has had, but the twos history has great similarity and if it continues then Bojan is in for a huge season.

So there it is. Agree? Think that Baejan is guaranteed to bag 30 goals and broker a move back to Barcelona? Be sure to let me know on Twitter (@sussexstokie)

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