He may be 6ft 5in tall, but Ipswich Town new boy Balint Bajner is much more than just a target man
He may be 6ft 5in tall, but Ipswich Town new boy Bálint Bajner is much more than just a target man.
So says manager Mick McCarthy after the towering Hungarian striker signed a one-year deal yesterday.
The 23-year-old – who, like French-Mauritian midfielder Kevin Bru, has become a permanent addition after impressing on trial – admits it was a dream come true to finally join an English club.
He spent a brief time on loan at West Ham as a teenager but never made an appearance there, his career path taking him to lower league football in his native Hungary, Romania and Italy before a spell of ‘B’ team football with German giants Borussia Dortmund.
“He’s not just an aerial target,” said McCarthy. “I think he’s got to get better at that actually – and I’m sure he will. He actually wants to head it.
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“I think he’s done well in every (trial) game. He’s only 23 and I think he’s got improvement in him.”
Bajner – pronounced ‘By-ner’ – scored with a cultured curling finish in Tuesday night’s 2-1 friendly win at Southedn, internet compilation clips highlighting his technical ability rather than physical attributes.
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“I try to be everything,” said the front man. “I want to get better at everything as a striker. I just want to show how I am (rather than talk about it).”
Bajner could barely contain his excitement at signing for the Blues when speaking at yesterday’s annual Open Day at Portman Road – more than 4,000 fans taking the chance to watch the first team train before getting autographs.
“My Hungarian agent has a contact with English agents who have the contacts with Ipswich,” he explained. “I thank them for getting me here and I thank the club for signing me. Now I concentrate on doing well.”
Asked if he knew much about Ipswich Town, Bajner replied: “Of course, because in my country everyone knows Ipswich is a big club.
“When I was young I looked to the TV for the Premier League and I know Mick McCarthy well from that. He is one of the best managers not only in England, but also in Europe. I’m really happy I can work with him. I think I will learn a lot.”
What was McCarthy’s message to him about forcing his way into the team?
“We didn’t speak about this too much,” said Bajner. “I am just pleased to sign here and now of course I will fight and work hard and try and learn a lot every day.”
Meanwhile, McCarthy was equally thrilled to have signed Bru – the 25-year-old having played for Bulgarian side Levski Sofia in the Europa League last season.
“I’ve been delighted with him,” said the Blues boss. “He’s a midfield player who looks a really gifted footballer.
“He was in the school of excellence at Clairfontaine (French National Football Centre) so he’s got a good background to him.
“Sometimes people drift for a while and I’m hoping that he can give us something. He looks a nice, talented, positive footballer who plays forward passes.”