Transfer News East Asia

Former Barcelona and Stoke Man Bojan Joins Vissel

Vissel Kobe are wasting no time in improving their squad following Kyogo Furuhashi’s departure, and after bringing both Yoshinori Muto and Yuya Osako into the Misaki Park Stadium, Atsuhiro Miura’s men once again turned heads as they announced the signing of former Barcelona and Stoke City attacker Bojan Krkic on Monday, with the Spaniard being reunited with fellow former Blaugrana players Andres Iniesta, Sergi Samper, and Thomas Vermaelen in Hyogo Prefecture.

Once touted as “the next Lionel Messi,” Bojan’s career hasn’t gone exactly according to plan. Being unable to compete with not only the genuine article but also the likes of Pedro and David Villa at the Camp Nou, Bojan left for Italy to play for both AS Roma and AC Milan, before an unsuccessful return to Barcelona saw him being loaned out to Ajax Amsterdam.

Bojan underwent a period of somewhat stability in England with Stoke, where he established himself as a fan-favorite, however he soon fell down the pecking order and found himself being loaned out to Mainz 05 in Germany and Alaves back in his native Spain. Not even staying loyal to the Potters as they were relegated into the Championship for the 2018/19 season could improve Bojan’s fortunes, as both Gary Rowett and Nathan Jones often overlook him in their squad selections.

A move to Major League Soccer with Montreal Impact then ensues, with Bojan turning out for the Canadian side from 2019 to 2020. Appearing 25 times and scoring 7 times in that period, Bojan was released from the Impact as they rebranded themselves to CF Montreal for 2021, leaving him without a club before Vissel took him in in August of this year.

“This opportunity is one of the best, both personally and professionally, and I can’t wait for this big challenge,” said Bojan, as quoted from BBC Sport, “I have been attracted to Japanese culture for a long time, and thanks to Vissel Kobe, I can experience Japan for myself. Iniesta is special to me and I am happy to be able to play with him again. I want to score a lot of goals from his assistance.”

Vissel are currently 4th in the 2021 J.League 1 table following a shock 2-1 home loss at the hands of relegation battlers Kashiwa Reysol on Monday night, however neither Muto nor Osako – the latter having just arrived from Werder Bremen in Germany – took part in that match.

The duo, alongside Bojan, must undergo a two-week quarantine first after arriving in Japan due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and they should turn out for Vissel once that quarantine process ends.