Will Nicola Zigic need room in his closet for a golden shoe?
A scorer of formidable regularity as a youngster – he scored 47 goals in 79 appearances for Red Star Belgrade between 2003 and 2006 – Zigic has spent the last four seasons in Spain watching Racing Santander and Valencia squander his talents between them.
He spent a season with Racing before joining Valencia at the most turbulent time in that club’s recent history in 2007, when Ronald Koeman’s managerial incompetence neatly mirrored the utter chaos in the boardroom.
Amongst the bedlam, Zigic often struggled to even make the bench. Last year he was loaned back to Racing and rediscovered his touch, banging in 13 in 19 matches.
Internationally, he’s hit 16 in 42 for Serbia, who find themselves grouped with Germany, Ghana and Australia, none of whom are known for haemorrhaging goals, although none have legendarily mean defences either.
Zigic has made the score sheet twice in the last six games for Serbia, but then so have his colleagues Jovanovic, Mrdja, Pantelic and Kuzmanovic.
To his great disadvantage, the golden boot tends to go to a player from a team which at least makes the semi-finals or failing that, has a sacrificial lamb in their group.
In his favour, he’s impossible to mark without standing on a chair, and as the Serbs tend to spread their goals amongst lots of players, he’s not going to receive the same obsessive focus from defenders and double-teaming tactics that the really big stars tend to suffer. So if Torres, Messi and the rest are going to be fanatically muzzled, why shouldn’t an outsider go home with a new shoe?
If you don’t like the look of Nicola but still want a big man with a big price, try Crouchy at 50/1.