Former Manchester City and Fiorentina striker Valeri Bojinov was in London to discuss terms of a free transfer to English Premier League side West Ham United, officials at his current club Levski Sofia have said.
Levski sporting director Georgi Ivanov said that Bojinov missed the team’s 2-1 win over Botev Plovdiv on August 17 because of a clause in the striker’s contract.
“We had to let him go because we have an agreement. I allowed him to travel to England because I am contractually required to do so. But he remains a Levski player until he signs with another team,” Ivanov told Bulgarian National Radio.
Bojinov has spent the second half of last season at Levski in an attempt to get a once-promising career, derailed by injuries and distractions off the pitch, back on track.
His emergence as a promising teenager at Italian side Lecce in 2002, where he made his senior debut a month short of his 16th birthday, drew glowing reviews and comparisons to another teenage sensation – England’s Wayne Rooney, then at Everton.
Bojinov got his big move aged only 18 in 2005, when he moved to Fiorentina, where he scored eight goals in 36 appearances. He also spent some time on loan at Juventus – then relegated to the Serie B following the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal – before securing a move to Manchester City in 2007.
His career in England was derailed by two major injuries – first to his knee ligaments in August 2007 and then an Achilles injury a year later. All in all, he played only 11 matches for City and scored one goal before being loaned to Parma, a move made permanent in the summer of 2010.
The striker never appeared to recover from his injuries and played mostly as a substitute at Parma, moving to Sporting Lisbon a year later, where he failed to stake a claim as a starter as well. Only six months into his tenure with Sporting, he was banned from the club after taking, and missing, a potentially match-winning spot kick deep into added time in a cup game – wrestling the ball from the designated penalty taker – sparking a furious reaction among the coaching staff and the club’s fans.
After several loan spells with Italian clubs, Bojinov came to Bulgaria but has been underwhelming at Levski, as the club finished fifth in the league last season.
(Bojinov, in blue, jumps for the ball during the match against CSKA Sofia on July 27. Photo: levski.bg)