Zoltan deal proves Albion's hunger Jul 31 2004
By Hyder Jawad, Birmingham Post
Three new players in 48 hours is West Bromwich Albion's idea of
proving to the rest of the world that they intend to do more than
just fight for survival in the Premiership this season.
The activity might have startled the Albion cheque book but Gary
Megson, the Albion manager, is behaving as if the club's immediate
future depends on what he does in the transfer market this summer.
It is a worthy pursuit.
Just hours after unveiling Jonathan Greening and revealing the
impending arrival of Nwankwo Kanu, the club last night announced
that Zoltan Gera will also be moving to The Hawthorns.
In terms of significant business conducted, Albion have not
experienced a day like this. If Kanu is the most noteworthy signing
of the week, and Greening the most predictable, Gera is the most
The Hungary captain, an attacking midfield player of high repute,
was last night signed on a three-year deal from Ferencvaros for £1.5
million, providing Albion with their largest squad for a generation,
and giving credence to the view that they should avoid relegation
Megson noted with gratification the failure of Crystal Palace to
acquire Gera - their £500,000 offer was deemed inadequate - and made
a move before Borussia Msnchenglad-bach and Spartak Moscow could
"This is our third signing of the past few days and, again, I am
pleased Zoltan has agreed to join us," Megson said. "He is the
captain of Hungary, really enthusiastic, and wants to prove himself
"We are going to have to give him time to adjust to a different way
of life and to learn the language - but he will be given that time.
Zoltan is an all-round midfielder who has an eye for getting
forward. He is also quick, athletic and works hard. Hopefully, he
will prove to be what we think he can be." Gera won the domestic
league and cup double with Ferencvaros last season and has emerged
as the brightest hope in the latest generation of Hungary
He has only been married for a month and has vowed to pursue an
intensive language course to aid his chances of making a successful
If he is something of a mystery to most Albion supporters at
present, that is not the case where Kanu is concerned. The Nigeria
international striker, who celebrates his 28th birthday tomorrow but
is believed by some to be older, made his name as a talented player
with Internazionale and, from 1999 to last season, with Arsenal.
Kanu was available on a free transfer after Arsenal chose not to
offer him a new contract and has signed a three-year deal after
passing a medical and agreeing personal terms. Megson could barely
contain his delight.
"We are obviously delighted Kanu has decided to join us," Megson
said. "I felt it was important we signed this type of player as I
think it takes us forward not just one step but quite a few steps.
"One of the things I mentioned to Kanu was that we would be bringing
in other players. While he will make a difference to us, it's
important we don't just think this signing will transform us
overnight, although it is a massive signing for us."
Kanu, who scored 44 goals in 198 appearances for Arsenal, has built
a sparkling career despite needing heart surgery to repair a faulty
valve soon after joining Internazionale from Ajax of Amsterdam in
With Arsenal he collected the Premiership and FA Cup double in 2002,
adding another FA Cup winner's medal a year later when he was on the
substitutes' bench - a familiar scenario for him during the latter
days of his career at Highbury.
The arrival of, first, Thierry Henry and more recently Robert Pires
and Jose Antonio Reyes restricted Kanu's opportunities but he still
made enough appearances last season to earn a second Premiership