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Potential transfer target: Edin Dzeko

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Edin Dzeko is tall (Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Edin Dzeko is tall (Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Bongarts/Getty Images

Edin Dzeko will be one of the names we hear about repeatedly from now until the close of the January transfer window, linked not only to Chelsea, but to every big club throughout Europe with a need for more goals. Playing for Vfl Wolfsburg, he's not cup tied to any event outside of the Bundesliga. Wolfsburg is also struggling right now, so it's unlikely that their two world class players (Dzeko, Kjaer) will want to stay with a club that has little chance at European play in the near future. Wolfsburg may be motivated to receive a big payday on their stars now, and Dzeko would likely bring a very large return. Dzeko also has a 34 million pound buyout in his contract, so if a team wants him badly enough Wolfsburg won't really have too much say. Because of that, the majority of the rumors floating around seem to involve Manchester City and Chelsea, as those two teams seem to have need for a young striker, money to afford a good one, and a club with a chance to play in major competitions. Real Madrid has also been mentioned frequently, but they don't seem to be looking to add in January.

Wolfsburg had plenty of interest in the summer for Dzeko, but when nobody met their astronomical asking price they decided to keep him and see how they would fare. His buyout came into effect starting with the January window, so now there is a limit on what Wolfsburg can receive. Dzeko has reportedly asked for a transfer, and is interested in playing in England. The fact that he's not cup-tied means that he's a valuable addition to any Champions league club. It's a good bet that at least one team will be happy to pay that buyout fee (if not in January, then in the summer), and likely several, meaning that Dzeko may have the opportunity to choose between several suitors. With an aging pair of Drogba and Anelka needing to be replaced soon, Chelsea could well be seen as an ideal match for him. City, however, will likely offer better wages if they come calling as well, and they've been linked pretty heavily. The odds seem to favor Dzeko making a move to England at some point in the next 8 months, so let's take a look at the young forward.

For those of you not familiar, Edin Dzeko is a 24 year old 6'4" center forward/striker from Bosnia. He's played for Vfl Wolfsburg since 2007, scoring 65 goals in his 109 appearances. He was a finalist for the 2009 Ballon d'Or, after leading Wolfsburg to their first ever Bundesliga title. Internationally, he was the 2nd leading scorer in European WC qualifying (tied with some guy from England who resembles a potato) with 9 goals. Bosnia missed out on a trip to the World Cup finals, so we didn't get to see him play there. With 5 more goals, Dzeko will become Bosnia's all time leading goal scorer. He's had a taste of the Champions league, and impressed in a group that included Manchester United. His limited experience in the Champions League has left him craving more.

"I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression: I very much enjoy playing for Wolfsburg. But I also have a dream. I want to play in the Champions League every year."

Dzeko has played predominantly in a 4-4-2 at Wolfsburg (more of a diamond style), but has also played as a lone striker or the centerman in a 4-3-3. He's stronger finishing with his left foot than his right, and he's not as dominant in the air as one might expect from such a big player (he's still very solid). He spent quite a few years as an attack minded midfielder though, so this may explain some of the lack of polish in the air. His passing and dribbling are considered exceptional for a player his size, likely due again to the fact that he developed as a midfielder. His strength allows him to be a force securing long balls, and he's added weight in each of the last few seasons. He's also quite fast when he gets up to top speed, although he seems to take a bit of time to accelerate. Dzeko is excellent while tracking back, and is a bonus defensively on set pieces.

While Dzeko would certainly bolster the quality of attacking players on our roster, Ancelotti may need to alter our shape to fit in both Drogba and Dzeko. They seem like they'd be an ideal pairing in a 4-4-2, as both have the ability to play off of the strengths of each other (which sometimes seemed to be a concern with Drogba and Anelka). Dzeko doesn't seem to be an obvious fit into the current 4-3-3 with Drogba, as neither are ideally suited to be a wing player. If Dzeko was to play in a different position in our current 4-3-3, the left forward slot would likely be the only other good fit. With the number of left footed players we already have, this seems to me to be a waste of his talents. Switching from the 4-3-3 might not be the worst move we've made, as we've been less than stellar scoring goals lately.

Dzeko turns 25 this March, and would likely need either a new 4 1/2 or 5 1/2 year deal to approve any transfer. This would likely give us the player throughout his prime years, and would fit well into the new effort to try to sign only players who will have resale value at the end of their contract. Dzeko will not, however, represent a bargain purchase by any means. He's likely to cost the full 34 million pound buyout, as it is not unreasonable for a world class center forward of his age. If nobody decides to pay it this January, there will likely be more interested teams in the summer. While I think it's likely that Dzeko eventually lands in Manchester, he's certainly one worth keeping an eye on.