Scouting Report: Why Liverpool Should Avoid Potential Transfer Bust Bojan Krkic

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Scouting Report: Why Liverpool Should Avoid Potential Transfer Bust Bojan Krkic
Joan Manuel Baliellas/Associated Press

Barcelona's Ajax loanee Bojan Krkic is a summer transfer window target for Liverpool, per David Maddock at the Mirror.

So here is a scouting report on the 23-year-old Spaniard, who is on course to crash and burn what looked like a superstar-bound career.

 

Ajax Disappointment

In three frantic stoppage-time minutes against Roda, a team protecting a 1-0 lead, Ajax's 17-year-old left-back Jairo Riedewald equalled Bojan's goals tally in the Eredivisie this season (two). 

Riedewald poached two goals Klaas-Jan Huntelaar-style, whereas Bojan had scored two goals from 11 league games at the time, which has now stretched to 16 games. 

League Only Goals/Games Shots Per Goal
     
Bojan  2/16 17
Jop van der Linden  4/22 6.8
Kenny Otigba 5/21 3.2
Rasmus Bengtsson 4/23 2.8
Stefan de Vrij 3/23 5.7
     

Aside from scoring more league goals this season than Bojan, what do Bengtsson (Twente), De Vrij (Feyenoord), Otigba (Heerenveen) and Van der Linden (Go Ahead Eagles) have in common? 

They're all centre-backs. 

What is one word to sum up Bojan's season at Ajax so far? Wasteful. 

In a 2-1 win over Groningen, Ajax right-back Ricardo van Rhijn's incisive pass dragged out Groningen goalkeeper Marco Bizot while right-back Lorenzo Burnet was a step behind Bojan

Bojan received the pass and then steered the ball wide of the right post.

Source: Ajax TV

During another play, Bizot was out of position again and all Bojan needed to do was place the ball to the right or left of last man Eric Botteghin, a 6'4" centre-back. 

Instead, Bojan tapped the ball towards Botteghin, who cleared the ball away. 

Source: Ajax TV

It was evident that Bojan had reacted to his earlier miss when he attempted to complete a side-foot finish into the bottom corner, only to miscue right in front of an empty net. 

Bojan and Viktor Fischer are Ajax's worst offenders when it comes to not scoring when you should score. 

Ajax management should be willing to grit their teeth with Fischer's flagrantly inefficient play (three goals from 63 shots), since he is only 19 years old. 

But Bojan is, at 23, vastly more experienced than Fischer, having played for Barca, Roma and AC Milan; therefore Bojan should be held to a higher standard. 

His 39 percent shooting accuracy and 7.1 percent goalscoring conversion percentage, per Squawka, should not be tolerated. 

Source: Squawka

Bojan's shooting has been awful, but it is his substandard awareness levels which cost him so many potential goals. 

He is often caught in two minds. 

In a 1-0 win over Go Ahead Eagles, Ajax centre-back Niklas Moisander ran down the left flank and sent in a precise cross to Bojan, who did a Dong-Won Ji and pulled out of an attempted header

Source: Ajax TV

At 5'7", Bojan should have chested the ball and volleyed first time.

When he did chest the ball during a play in a 4-0 win over AZ Alkmaar, it was the wrong decision. 

Source: Ajax TV

He should have pulled the trigger to blast it past AZ keeper Esteban.

That was also the case when he was teed up by the superbly gifted Davy Klaassen

Why didn't Bojan release the kraken? His heavy first-touch forced him into a tame shot.  

Source: Ajax TV

That would be his last meaningful contribution to the team as he was subbed off for 19-year-old Ricardo Kishna. And what did the teenager do? He scored. 

Should Bojan be dropped to Jong Ajax, the reserve team that plays in the Eerste Divisie (Dutch equivalent of the Championship), as Tobias Sana was?

On form, yes.

Is it practical? No

Not only do Ajax management risk destroying Bojan, who is riddled with self-doubt, they would be stunting the development of another Ajax prospect as that player loses his spot to Bojan, who is not even a permanent member of Ajax. 

 

What Bojan Has Done Well

Bojan has shown flashes of brilliance, evident when he won a penalty against Groningen by cutting the ball swiftly past Botteghin, whose tackle was absurdly high and late.

Source: Ajax TV

The way Bojan maneuvered the ball and shot in a smooth motion against Go Ahead Eagles, which ricocheted off the crossbar, was great shooting form.

Source: Ajax TV

His three assists came in a four-game run and both his goals occurred in successive games, so if he builds up momentum, he can be a lively threat. 

 

Should Liverpool Sign Bojan?

No.

He is not worth the £5 million David Maddock at the Mirror quoted. 

Anyone who thinks Bojan would be a "bargain" has not extensively followed Ajax this season. 

Well, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers saved the career of Philippe Coutinho, who was not rated by former Inter manager Andrea Stramaccioni, per Football Italia.

Why can't Rodgers do the same with Bojan

During Coutinho's loan at Espanyol, he was tied with Alvaro Vazquez, Joan Verdu and Sergio Garcia as the club's second topscorer (five goals), behind Kalu Uche (six goals).

League Only Bojan (13-14) Coutinho (11-12)
     
Goals/Games 2/16 5/16
Shots Per Goal 17 8.0
Assists 3 1
Key Passes Per Game 0.9 0.9
     
  Ajax (13-14) Espanyol (11-12)
League Position 1st 14th
Goals Per Game 2.2 1.2
Possession Per Game 63.1 54.3
     

Mauricio Pochettino, Coutinho's manager at the time and now Southampton's manager, likened his former player's impact to Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho, per BBC Sport.

Rest assured, Ajax manager Frank de Boer won't be comparing Bojan's performances to what Luis Suarez and Huntelaar brought to Ajax in past campaigns (both were Eredivisie top scorers).

Coutinho was an invaluable member on a mediocre team in La Liga.

Meanwhile, Bojan has underperformed for the best team in an attack-centric Eredivisie, which is the eighth best league in Europe, per UEFA.com

Here is the crucial difference between the two: Coutinho was not a let-down at four big-name clubs in Barca, Roma, AC Milan and Ajax. 

Talk about a massive psychological hurdle to overcome. 

 

Bojan's Questionable Mentality 

Do you remember why Bojan did not make Spain's Euro 2008 squad?

He did not want to play as he was "physically and emotionally shattered," per Sid Lowe at the Guardian

Then he claimed the way the Spanish football federation broke the news was not acceptable to his standards.

"They [Spanish football federation] didn't announce the decision at the correct time or in the correct manner," Bojan said, per Inside Spanish Football. "I was 17 and I would have never said no to the Euros, but for personal reasons."

Amid the bench-warming, the injuries and the mood swings at Barca, who did Bojan direct his anger at? 

Former Barca manager Pep Guardiola, who is managing Bayern Munich, a UEFA Champions League contender. 

"I didn't say goodbye to Pep, only those who treated me well," Bojan said, per Guillem Balague's book Pep Guardiola: Another Way of Winning. "The relationship with Pep wasn't a very good one."

Bojan's tendency not to accept accountability will be his downfall

In hindsight, toughing it out with relegation-threatened Real Betis, a club Bojan almost signed for in the summer transfer window, per Sport (h/t Duncan McMath at ESPN FC), would have been better for his footballing maturation than being a big-time flop at Ajax. 

Bottom line: There are too many red flags in Bojan which should sink a potential move to Liverpool. 

 

@allanjianga

Statistics via WhoScored

Load More Stories

Follow Liverpool from B/R on Facebook

Follow Liverpool from B/R on Facebook and get the latest updates straight to your newsfeed!

Transfer News

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.