Tom Jenkins on our latest signing from Real Madrid: Derik Osede and why we should be wary
The signing of Derik Osede from Real Madrid has been met with almost unanimous positivity from Bolton fans and, thus far, he is probably the marquee signing of this barren summer window. Having, arguably, the biggest club in the world on your CV is impressive but experience tells us that it isn`t always a guarantee of success. Sometimes it can mean the complete opposite.
When we completed the signing of Ivan Campo on loan from Real Madrid it was a coup for “Little Old Bolton”. The player boasted a Champions League medal and 4 Spanish caps upon arrival and over the 6 or so years he spent with us he became a club icon. You may wonder why then I have chosen to bring up his name in an article containing the word ‘warning`. It is because Campo was a centre-back by trade when he first joined, just like Derik. He enjoyed by far his best spells at Bolton in a holding midfield role where he could utilise his best asset: passing, to full effect. He struggled at first with the physicality of the English game and this is why he moved positions. Campo wouldn`t have been half as good at centre-back.
The same goes for Fernando Hierro. While he isn`t as much of an icon as Campo at the Macron, he was a legend of the game and an idol at the Bernabeu. But he, again a defender in Spain, was moved into midfield by Big Sam and helped us to our highest ever finish of 6th. Both men stood over 6ft tall, had years of experience at the highest level playing in defence and were forced to alter their game to suit this country`s style. My fear is that this could happen with Derik.
If this is the case we may well be talking about another great signing from Los Blancos but do we really need another holding midfielder? For a side struggling to get one decent right-back but boasting 8 central midfielders it would make signing Derik pointless. His showings in pre-season, bar one calamitous error, have been good thus far and so maybe I`m worrying without reason. I merely have looked at what has gone before.
Another example of how poorly suited some Spanish defenders are to England comes in the form of Gerard Pique. None of you I`m sure will need reminding of his hilarious mishap to allow Nicolas Anelka to score the winner in December 2008, the only time we have beaten Man United at home since the move from Burnden Park. He was shipped out soon after and picked up by former employers Barcelona and one World Cup, one European Championship and numerous Spanish titles later I doubt he remembers Bolton exist.
I`m not saying Derik will be a bad signing and I`m not saying he will be the next Pique. I am simply making the point that English football`s past implies that Spanish defenders don`t often do well in our game. If Derik turns out to be a great defender, or a great midfielder like his predecessors, we won`t care. He may be the hero we deserve, but not the one we need.