Think back to January 2011: Roy Hodgson is on the verge of leaving Anfield after a truly underwhelming spell as Liverpool manager, Arsenal are set to face Birmingham City in what looks to be a rather straightforward clash among the often overlooked League Cup final, whilst the Reds set their sights on landing £35 million rated Andy Carroll with the once unassailable Fernando Torres likely leaving for Stamford Bridge.
In the midst of such a predictably chaotic scene – driven by the usual series of wild, unsubstantiated rumours and never ending transfer-fuelled speculation – Manchester City, led by Roberto Mancini at the time, dutifully announced their recent capture of an up and coming fresh-faced striker who was seemingly ready to tear the Premier League apart. His name was Edin Dzeko.
Arriving for a no-nonsense fee of £27 million, The Bosnian Diamond – as he had been lovingly characterised back in his native homeland – certainly introduced himself among the English top flight with a great deal of promise.
Dzeko was quietly expected to lead the Manchester City front-line for many consecutive years to come, after setting the German Bundesliga alight with a string of influential performances for previous league winners Vfl Wolfsburg.
It didn’t all go according to plan of course, as the widely admired Bosnian frontman eventually became little more than a glorified benchwarmer down at the Etihad. Dzeko opted to freshen things up with a tempting loan move to the Stadio Olimpico with legendary Italian outfit AS Roma, where his first season among Serie A also failed to take off as expected.
Be very surprised if a bigger club doesn’t come knocking for Dzeko this summer, he’s been an entirely better player since he left City
— Ryan Keogh (@RKeogh5) May 28, 2017
It is only since then however, after putting a permanent end to his once celebrated status as a Manchester City player, that the Bosnian Diamond’s usual goalscoring prowess really came to the forefront. The 2016/17 campaign saw Edin Dzeko embark upon his second domestic season among the Italian capital, and boy – has the once condemned Premier League ‘flop’ really served to turn things around.
The 31-year-old Bosnian striker has become the first AS Roma player to score 29 league goals in one season since the early 1930s. He finished the 2016/17 campaign as the leading top goalscorer among both Serie A and the Europa League, whilst equalling several impressive records previously held by the likes of Gabriel Batistuta and Francesco Totti in front of the loyal Roma faithful.
“He’s rubbish at football, but great at goalscoring.”
Whilst Edin Dzeko may admittedly fail to represent the most technically gifted centre-forward proudly going about his business upon the grand European stage, the former Manchester City frontman deserves to be applauded after proving many of his most ardent doubters wrong this season. Say what you like about his apparent inability to showboat the ball all the way into the back of the net, but when it comes to scoring vital goals time and time again and subsequently reaping his just rewards, Dzeko must surely be seen as a genuine craftsman in front of goal.
He commands a certain presence up-top without the physical attributes usually required for such a task, his strong link-up play inside the final third continues to go somewhat underrated in terms of sheer effectiveness and cogency – and on the back of his undeniably potent form at the Stadio Olimpico throughout the previous league campaign – Edin Dzeko can no longer be characterised as a once promising striker who sadly failed to hit the big time when all was said and done.
Edin Džeko has been directly involved in more Serie A goals (38) than any other player this season.
Sensational campaign. pic.twitter.com/a2b6uddv32
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 28, 2017
Manchester City’s loss has most certainly proven AS Roma’s gain within this latest turnaround in fortunes, especially with the likes of Sergio Aguero and Nolito falling victim to injury at the Etihad of late, and the up and coming Kelechi Iheanacho remaining rather unlikely to break into Pep Guardiola’s star-studded starting XI any time soon.
Yet as the expensively assembled Citizens aren’t exactly lacking in the all-important financial department this upcoming summer transfer window, such an outcome hardly bares all that much significance on a club that could theoretically afford to splash out on both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi before the new league campaign if they really wanted to.
But with Edin Dzeko’s career resurrection currently in full bloom at the moment, as he continues to brush his disappointing spell upon the Manchester City subs-bench firmly behind him – the future remains bright for The Bosnian Diamond, a player who could very well increase his once unyielding reputation as one of the most exciting strikers in Europe in the not too distant future.