|Per Krøldrup — Defender|
The transfer of Per Krøldrup to Everton was quite a well-kept secret, and was completed with unusually smooth efficiency once it did become public knowledge — almost a throwback to the good old days!
Krøldrup arrived with a reoutation as a highly rated defender who was strong and determined. He started his career at B93 Copenhagen before transferring to Udinese in 2001 where he spent four seasons and made 91 Serie A appearances in all. Krøldrup was part of the Denmark national team at the 2004 European Championship and had picked up 13 caps.
"We are delighted to have Per on board," Moyes said when he signed for £5M, easily a club record for a defender. "He will be a part of a squad that has a big season ahead.
"He is young and we hope he will continue to improve and develop as much as he has done over the years that we have been monitoring him."
Moyes's interest in Krøldrup did not go unnoticed by the player, who admits the manager was a key factor in his decision to join the Toffees following a chat with compatriot and former Evertonian Thomas Gravesen.
"The manager was a big influence in my decision and obviously he has done very well here. I have spoken to Tommy and he spoke very warmly about the manager," he said.
"That was important for me. Tommy was a big influence because he had five very good years here.
"I have spoken to him in the last week and he only had positive things to say about David. That was a big help in making a decision like this."
Krøldrup was looking to play the best football of his career in the Barclays Premiership: "The manager spoke to me about what he wants," he said. "He wants me to play the ball, in the way we do on the continent, in order to influence the game and the play.
"I am a pretty physical player because of my height and my stature, but I am a player who likes to keep the ball on the ground and play it a lot.
"That is what I have been doing in Italy. Here, the game is different and I will have to adjust my game as well. But I have come this far playing my game and I will try and do it here as well. I want to enjoy the best part of my career here at Everton."
But the much-heralded Everton transfer medical that had highlighted problems with Sean Davis and Mikael Forssell was shown up not to be infallible when Per Krøldrup pulled up with a niggling groin problem before a ball had been kicked in earnest.
"I had a bit of a problem at the end of last season" he told the Everton Website in August 2005. It was determined he would need groin surgery, scuppering Moyes's well-laid plans for upgrading the Everton defence. He missed the first two months of the critical new season through injury.
In October 2005, Krøldrup duly made a couple of reserves appearances after recovering from surgery... but then he sat as an unused sub on the Everton bench for an incredible TEN games over the next two months! David Moyes insisted that Yobo and Weir were performing well, and that, despite getting Udinese to 4th place in Serie A and his qualifications as a full Danish International, Krøldrup still had some stepping up to do before he was ready for the Premiership.
Following some catastrophic errors by David Weir in successive defeats in December 2005, Moyes had little choice in the face of supporters' calls to finally give the Dane his opportunity to confirm or deny a litany of wild rumours concerning his ability.
That chance came in an away fixture at Villa Park and Krøldrup endured a torrid baptism of fire as the Blues were demolished 4-0 for the second game running. While he displayed a glaring lack of familiarity with the English game, choosing to back off almost every attack rather than close down advancing players, he also showed some pleasing sides to his game — most notably excellent distribution of the ball from the back — that hint of what might've been in store if he could've adjusted to life in the Premiership.
But he was injured against Villa, and then made a cameo reappearance in the Millwall FA Cup replay, before he was uncremoniously packed off back to Italy by David Moyes. He couldn't hack it in the Premiership. That was the official version. What was really going on at the heart of this very strange affair is anyone's guess.
There were rumours that Moyes signed him without ever seeing him play,
but those can safely be discounted. It is more likely Moyes signed him
after watching him in a few games when he was never below excellent.
Every game watched was in Serie A, so he was signed.
So... could he play or not? Could he head the ball or not? Perhaps
one of the biggest enigmas ever signed by EFC.
Last updated by Michael Kenrick, February 2006
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