When Steve Clarke takes on his ex-club on Saturday, his moves in the transfer window thus far may have Liverpool fans feeling a bit envious. With the Reds recently announcing a deal to bring Joe Allen, one of last season’s revelations to Anfield for a reported £15m, West Bromwich Albion have gone about their business quietly and efficiently.
After completing the signings of England Goalkeeper Ben Foster and tough tackling Argentine midfielder Claudio Yacob on a free transfer, they recently announced the loan signing of Chelsea’s Belgian starlet Romelu Lukaku and Swedish international Markus Rosenberg, who also joins on a free from Werder Bremen.
Starting his career as a youth with Swedish outfit Malmo, Rosenberg’s eye for goal quickly caught the attention of Dutch giants Ajax who snapped up the then 22 year old for €5m. Playing under Danny Blind at Ajax, Rosenberg, after initial signs of promise failed to adapt to a 4-3-3 formation and needed to be the central figure in attack. After a brief partnership with Greek striker Angelos Charisteas in an almost alien 4-4-2, Blind reverted to the formation that has led Ajax to major success in the past, but needed more from the Swede and opted to sign Klaas Jan Huntelaar in the winter transfer window.
This proved the death knell for Rosenberg’s career in Amsterdam with Huntelaar’s remarkable goal scoring exploits forcing him to take up the role of back up striker or uncomfortable winger, neither of which sitting well. After failing to get any minutes for Sweden at the World cup in 2006 and starting the next campaign as a bit part player Rosenberg left for Werder Bremen in January 2007, scoring only 12 goals as an Ajax player.
At 29 he has only ever once managed to hit 15 goals in one season, during 2007/08
Rosenberg enjoyed a mixed spell in the Bundesliga, but never quite managed to become a consistent goalscorer, with Thomas Schaaf dropping him completely on occasions. With Werder being blessed with the creative talents of Diego, Mesut Ozil and Marko Marin at different points during the strikers spell at the club, there was never any doubt about service and chances created. Bremen, when on form, are a positive side but the brilliance of Claudio Pizarro was always supplemented by a revolving selection of talented but extremely inconsistent forwards including Hugo Almeida, Boubacar Sanogo, Aaron Hunt and Rosenberg himself.
He enjoyed a decent spell in La Liga playing for Racing Santander on loan in 2010, finishing the season as their top scorer with nine league goals. Manager Clarke mentioned the fact he has ‘scored goals in all the major leagues’ but at 29 he has only ever once managed to hit 15 goals in one season, during 2007/08.
Quick and strong in the air with sharp finishing inside the box, it’s hard to see what he will bring to the Hawthorns that Shane Long, Peter Odemwingie and Marc-Antoine Fortune don’t already offer, but arriving on a free, Clarke has nothing to lose and at least will have added depth in the striking department.
The arrival of Chelsea rough diamond Lukaku will create fierce competition for the two striking positions in Clarke’s line up, Rosenberg will have to hit the ground running and maintain a level of performance he has consistently failed to do at his previous clubs.
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