Adios to Ricky and bonjour to Dieumerci.
Best wishes to the former in Spain – once more, it’s not worked out in Norwich and maybe he’s wishing he wasn’t shackled with *that* nickname, just like these hirsute people.
Not sure what the ilk of Ron Saunders would have made of such cosmopolitan squad comings and goings but the world is a very different place to when I first started following the beautiful game.
As a flying Dutchman heads to warmer climates for another year, the Congolese striker Mbokani joins his fellow countryman Youssouf Mulumbu in the gradually evolving Alex Neil squad in the East of England.
A new face, especially one with potentially goals in his boots, always generates an air of excitement. And let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much for your typical Canary fan to lurch from one emotional high or low to another – last night’s meltdown a perfect example.
But can he deliver? Is he the much mooted 15-20 goal-a-season messiah that many have been demanding?
Mbokani is a title winner and comes with an average of a goal every other game – facts and stats which come with the large caveat of being achieved in the Belgian and Ukranian leagues.
The Premier League for all its warts represents a very large step up in pace and quality, but Mbokani looks to have the physique to handle the rough and tumble.
Does he though have the finesse and coolness to take the kind of chances which so far our strikers have failed to do this season?
No doubt, it will have been a big relief for him to get out of the fractious political and social maelstrom that is currently infecting the icy yet fiery Ukraine.
Also, with the distinctly racist reputation of east European football fans, I suspect that our new striker will find Norfolk and its surrounds a very pleasant improvement in quality of life and the warm way he is welcomed by the vast majority in the county and country.
It will be a very different scene to that of his African homeland, formerly Zaire – still most famous for that classic 1974 World Cup free-kick incident.
Now the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country is still ravaged by civil war, disease and poverty affecting the vast majority of its citizens.
It currently ranks 186th out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index – a combined indicator of life expectancy, education standards and personal income. Norway is 1st and the UK 14th incidentally.
For all of his country’s magnificent natural scenery and resources, clearly any measure of sporting talent provides one of the few ways out for anyone looking to make an affluent life for themselves and their family.
The Broads and the Fens will provide very different vistas to the equator-crossing, tropical rainforest and mountains on offer in Congo – wonderful attractions to the casual tourist or intrepid explorer from Europe or America but clearly a punishingly tough landscape in which to eke out a life and a living on a daily basis.
The riches on offer in the English Premier League, albeit at ‘little old’ Norwich City will, no doubt with the recommendation from his compatriot Mulumbu, have been a no-brainer of a decision for the striker.
Before battle recommences, Mbokani will have had the best part of two weeks to settle in with his new team mates, try to learn the finer points of the Glaswegian accent and to get used to the largely alien cuisine on offer in his newly adopted home city.
Let’s hope that the financial security assured by just one season here will not blunt the edge of his desire and passion for goals. I’m sure it won’t.
After all, let’s not kid ourselves, he will know that if he proves himself a roaring success, then a bigger and richer club will be knocking on the door for his services next season.
The Sky (Sports) is the limit for Dieumerci Mbokani, even before he’s pulled on the yellow and green half and half with large yellow corporate logo box for competitive action.
His adopted first name translates as ‘Thank God’. And amen to that if he fires us to Premier League safety come next May.