Edin Dzeko- The story behind Manchester Citys new striker

Last updated : 07 January 2011 By Daily Mail

His story of trauma, poverty and sadness living through a Balkan war, where his family house was bombed, provide further evidence that the newest star shooting for the Barclays Premier League is not a typically pampered footballer.

His sporting ambitions remain the same as those of his new employers: Champions League football. He wants to follow in the footsteps of his hero, Andriy Shevchenko; not the shadow who appeared in Chelsea colours, but the goalscoring machine of old. Shevchenko's Milan shirt adorns the wall of Dzeko's luxury Bosnian home in Sarajevo.

Edin to City: Manchester City are set to announce the signing of Edin Dzeko on Friday

It was not always so plush for the elegant Bosnia forward.

'I was born just before the conflict started and spent my early childhood in the midst of the siege of the city from 1992 to 1996,' he recalled. 'Our home was destroyed, so we had to move in with my grandparents. The whole family lived there under one roof, maybe 15 people crammed into an apartment of 35 square metres.

'It was constant stress and worry, in case something happened or news came through that someone we knew had been killed. I was only young, and I cried often, through fear. Every day, you could hear the guns firing, and we lost family friends and even some relatives.

'The memory does not leave you. It was a very bad time, and I had a very sad and traumatic childhood. You can't imagine living through something like that, unless you have actually done it. When the war was over, I at least felt stronger mentally. There was not much that could intimidate or frighten me after that.'

That includes England and the challenges that face him at City: fitting into their squad of egos, finding a starting place in their all-star forward line, striking a partnership with Carlos Tevez.

War torn: Dzeko grew up in the volatile Balkans. He does, though, still own a home in Sarajevo

Tall and accomplished in the air, Dzeko's impressive German goal tally hints at the impact he might make. And it is a measure of his quality that observers find it hard to work out which is his stronger foot. It is supposed to be his left, but he's scored many of his more memorable goals with his right.

He has been compared with Dimitar Berbatov in part because, although he has the 6ft 4in stature of a target man, Dzeko, 24,  is equally comfortable dropping off the front and playing as a No 10. His technique, first touch and vision are reminiscent of the Manchester United striker's and, if allowed to chest it down, a thunderous volley often follows.

Head boy: Despite his stature, heading was never one of Dzeko's strong points until he began working hard at it

Dzeko has managed to be prolific without being selfish. His partnership with Grafite at Wolfsburg was made up of two very similar, imposing strikers. Yet it worked because each was as comfortable at turning provider and running at defences as well as working with his back to goal.

In fact, Dzeko has had to work at his heading, which has vastly improved to the point where he is now a genuine threat in the air, as Manchester United fans will remember from the Champions League last season.

He started in football as a midfielder but was much more comfortable in attack, though he has retained an ability to dribble with his head up and possesses a good awareness of where his team-mates are helping him know when to pass or go for goal.

His ability to shift the ball, turn on the pace and leave defenders for dead is unusual for his size and he often conjures up enough space to curl a shot towards the corner of the goal in a manner similar to Thierry Henry.

His demeanour this season, in a side riven by infighting and discontent, underlines how much he expects a return for his input.

With Steve McClaren fighting to save his job, and deciding a change was needed in a recent game against Hoffenheim, he substituted his out-of-touch front-runner near the end. Champions League places already out of reach, a disgruntled Dzeko responded by refusing the handshake on offer and stomping down the tunnel.

As Dzeko boarded a private jet, laid on by City, near Wolfsburg's Marbella training camp on Wednesday, a source close to the Bundesliga club provided an insight into what Roberto Mancini can expect from his latest expensive signing.

'Dzeko has made it clear all season he wants to leave, but he will be no trouble for Mancini, to begin with at least,' he said. 'He's adamant about Champions League football.

'It is almost a condition for being happy at his new club, and he will give Mancini everything to try and ensure it happens this season. But if things don't go to plan, say next year, there could be problems. He nearly joined Milan in July 2009, after Wolfsburg won the title, but signed a new contract, instead, with an escape clause in it.

'City made their first serious approach last May and are the only club with the money to activate the clause. But the feeling here is that, one way or another, they will not be his last club. Even if he is an outstanding success, which he could well be, we expect him to end up at Milan, or perhaps Barcelona or Real Madrid, in maybe two years.

Sit down protest: A Wolfsburg source suggested Dzeko would one day angle for a move to Milan

'The one consolation for City is that, if he carries on improving as we all know he can, City may well double their money.'

As he arrives in Manchester, his ambition is obvious.

'After reaching the Champions League with Wolfsburg a couple of seasons ago, I don't want to go back to a lower standard,' he said. 'I want to keep testing myself against the best, and I hope I can help make that happen with City.

'I want to keep improving, and playing at the highest level possible, but as a small boy, all I could think of was playing for Milan. They were my team, the great side under Fabio Capello when I was growing up in the 90s, and they have always been special to me.

'I still have a home in Sarajevo, and there is a room where the walls are covered with football jerseys. One is the red and black stripes of Milan, with Shevchenko's name and number on the back. It is an original from one of his Serie A appearances, and he has autographed it. It has pride of place.

'It was bought for me, because all my friends and family back home know how much of a Milan fan I am, and it really is my prized possession. It always brings a smile to my face when I see it.'

He may have a passion for Milan, but right now he is the new man in Manchester.

Additional reporting by ASHLEY GRAY

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Source: Daily Mail

Source: Daily Mail