After an impressive if not ultimately fruitful showing against much-fancied Argentina on their World Cup debut, many expected Bosnia-Herzegovina to kickstart their campaign against Nigeria, with Edin Dzeko set to be their most potent force in front of goal.
With Alvaro Negredo possibly on his way out of the Etihad Stadium, Dzeko could have an even bigger role to play for the Premier League champions in 2014-15, and Goal took a look at whether he has what it takes to lead the Blues' line next season.
|PERFORMANCE AGAINST NIGERIA
After failing to ever get out of first gear against Argentina, Dzeko looked in the mood to make up for lost time at his first major finals, with former Everton centre-back Joseph Yobo struggling to track the forward's movement in the opening stages.
His understanding with the likes of Miralem Pjanic in midfield was evident, and his fine finish after turning his marker following Zvjezdan Misimovic's through ball was something most Manchester City fans have seen plenty of times before. An incorrect offside call was all that stood between him and a first World Cup strike.
Thereafter he struggled to have the same impact, with his finishing proving frustrating both for himself personally as well as the Bosnia fans, while his willingness to show for the ball lacked the same energy as it had done in the first half.
By the final whistle he had become a peripheral figure, but he still almost had the final say as he was twice denied by goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama in stoppage time on what proved to be a thoroughly frustrating night.
|HE'LL BE PERFECT FOR...
Though more and more sides are looking for creative strikers and ‘false nines’, there is certainly still space in the modern game for an old-fashioned target man; the number of headed goals in the World Cup thus far are testament to that.
Dzeko certainly offers that physical presence, and any side on the lookout for a big man to come short and hold the ball up as well as cause problems for central defenders in the box could do worse than consider the Bosnian frontman.
Though there would be plenty of suitors for the 28-year-old, it would certainly be an oversight from Manchester City to allow him to leave. He provides an excellent alternative to Sergio Aguero, and whether that is from the start or the bench, he gives defences headaches.
Though he may not have shown it at the World Cup to date, he certainly has an eye for goal and has proven twice to be a vital member of a title-winning squad.
|WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Linked with a move away from the Etihad Stadium for much of the past two years given a lack of consistency, it now seems his part in City’s title triumph will lead to him penning a new deal with Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
His main rival for a starting berth at club level, Alvaro Negredo, could well be on the move, with Atletico Madrid set to table an offer for the Spain international, and with the Blues willing to let ‘The Beast’ leave after just one season for the club, opportunities for Dzeko should become more plentiful.
Previously a target of Inter, among others on the continent, the former Wolfsburg striker now looks like he will be staying put. With City’s spending power and penchant for big-money moves across the pitch, though, no player’s future is all that certain at the Etihad.