Who is Adam Bogdan? I suppose a lot of Liverpool fans, those ignorant or just humbly unaware, have been asking that question of late, and even if they do know of the name and the iconic hair, maybe they wish to find out just a little bit more about their potential new goalkeeper.
Well, look no more Liverpool supporters, Lion of Vienna Suite have got you covered.
First of all, I think we should settle a few misconceptions about Bogdan that have been doing the rounds as of late. Mostly due to big football websites spreading their bile with out actually doing any proper research, or perhaps ignoring it to go for the ‘Liverpool make surprising move' story instead. Who knows?
Misconception 1) Bogdan isn't Bolton's first choice.
The most concerning misconception is in regards to how far up Adam Bogdan is on the Bolton Wanderers' goalkeeper pecking order. Let me assure you, he's firmly at the top. The only reason he made so few appearances last year was due to him being unlucky with two fairly serious injuries. Don't threat, not the niggly reoccurring kind, well at least I hope not. Yes, the only reason it appears that Andy Lonergan and then Ben Amos were chosen ahead of him is because early on in the season he suffered a broken finger, which saw him side-lined until late on in 2014. Then, in near on the immediate after math of his outstanding performance at Anfield, he twisted awkwardly in training and suffered ankle ligament damage. Upon his return, he was benched for two games until the in-form Amos returned to Manchester United, and then he continued his fine performances between the sticks until the season came to its conclusion. Our other goalkeeper, Lonergan, was released this summer with no effort to keep him at the club, unlike with Bogdan.
Misconception 2) Bolton are releasing him.
Yes, Adam Bogdan will be regrettably leaving the Macron Stadium on a bosman this summer, but it's not what anybody at the club wants. Neil Lennon set out his stall early doors and offered a new contract to Bogdan, with rumours stating that it was a very fair offer considering our hideous financial position. The fact of the matter is, despite our wishes, Bogdan wants to go on to bigger and better things. And he deserves them.
Now those are out of the way, lets get to the details about Adam Bogdan's career to date.
Name: Ádám Bogdán.
D.O.B: 27th September 1987 (27 years old).
Height: 6ft 4".
Previous clubs: 2005-07: Vasas. 2006: Vecsés (loan). 2007-2015: Bolton Wanderers. 2009: Crewe Alexandra (loan).
Bolton appearances: 104, 26 clean sheets.
International caps: 19.
Career at Bolton:
Adam Bogdan made his professional debut for the Whites in the Carling Cup, he kept a clean sheet as Bolton beat Southampton 1-0. Not long after he'd be forced into his first ever league appearance, against Birmingham City in 2010. He had to come off the bench to replace the legendary Jussi Jaaskeleinen after the Fin had gotten sent off slapping Rodger Johnson in the face, something I'm sure we can all get behind. Bolton were already 2-0 down at the time and were looking beat, but Bogdan proved himself in goal that day and kept the oppodents at bay as goals from Kevin Davies and Robbie Blake fought Bolton back level. Birmingham could have nicked it right at the death as Cameron Jerome raced through on goal, but Bogdan made himself big and thwarted Jerome's effort.
His first two games were certainly promising, proven that his climb through the Wanderers youth system wasn't by accident, he went on to make another 7 appearances in the 2010/11 season, but he still found himself behind the legendary Jussi Jaaskelainen in the pecking order.
That all changed half way through the next season, however, in the January of 2012. Jussi picked up an injury, so in stepped Bogdan and he didn't disappoint. Although Bolton would eventually succumb to relegation come the end of the season, Bogdan's form came close to preventing it. A series of excellent performances peaking with a Wayne Rooney penalty save earned him the Player of the Season award for that year.
Even though Bogdan was very good in his debut campaign, he was far from the finished article. He often looked nervous and shaky in the goal, was weak and frail when coming to challenge for crosses and would make the occasional costly mistake. This was far more prominent at the beginning of the Whites' first two Championship seasons. Idiotic fans turned against him as mistakes, most notably against Ipswich Town and Yeovil, began to cost us points.
In the 2013/14 season, he did find himself second choice to Andy Lonergan for a time, as Lonergan was on a good run of form when Bogdan returned from an injury, but when he came back into the side he displayed the fine goalkeeper he'd grown into.
There was even further proof of that in the season just passed, even though it was an injury ravaged campaign, Bogdan was excellent in every appearance he made, not least against his club to be at Anfield, where he kept all of Liverpool's attacking might at bay for 90 minutes.
And now, after eight years at the club, it seems as if Bogdan is about to take the next big step in his career.
As I just said, Bogdan has matured into a truly brilliant goalkeeper, but what does that entail exactly? Well, he's always been a very good shot stopper. His reactions are instinctive and his wrists are strong, making shots destined for corners tip around the post when everyone in the ground believes them to be in. I've lost count of the number of times Bogdan has had me up on my feet in pure astonishment.
However, it's the other aspects of his game in which he took great strides of improvement in. He's now strong and assured when coming off his line to pluck crosses out of the sky, no more hesitation and being easily brushed aside. In the same breath, he commands his box very effectively too.
The silly mistakes that once hampered him have been eradicated, the ball no longer perilously slips through his legs or bounces off his face into the path of an attacker. His positioning and timing when coming off his line to close an attacker down is top drawer, and he's just in general, a very, very good, composed, reliable goalkeeper. One that I am truly devastated about leaving my club.
As I mentioned, Bogdan has greatly refined a lot of aspects to his game, but perhaps the one blemish on another wise sterling skill set is his distribution. Whilst he's more than capable with the ball at his feet, kicking the ball far and wide and hitting attackers as they make runs has never been his strong suit. Also, whilst I do fully believe he isn't fully injury prone, he does certainly seem a little brittle boned. Whenever he goes in for 50/50s he seems to come worse off and I had begun to grimace when ever he would dive in at the feet of attackers.
How I think he'll do at Liverpool:
Although it certainly appears that Bogdan will only be going to Liverpool to be understudy to Simon Mignolet (heaves) I can genuinely see him becoming so much more at Anfield. Providing he doesn't revert back to the nervousness and tentativeness that plagued him when he first broke into the Bolton side, I could see Bogdan capitalising on an inevitable run of bad form from Mignolet and claiming the number one jersey for his own.
So Liverpool fans, any more questions or remaining anxieties? I'd be happy to answer them either in the comments below or on twitter, @Murbroski.