Dickson Etuhu Leaves

From the official:

The Club can confirm that Dickson Etuhu has joined Blackburn Rovers on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

Dickson made over 125 appearances for the Whites since joining four years ago and played an integral role in our 2009/10 Europa League campaign.

Since replacing Jimmy Bullard on Boxing Day in 2008, Etuhu was a fixture in the lineup until this past season. In 2008-09, he started every single match from Boxing Day onward, bar one. He scored one goal, which coincidentally was one of the two matches I’ve ever been to.

Even though he was greatly involved in our Europa League run, he still played more league minutes that he did last season. In the league he started 14 matches and subbed in 6 times. He did not play in the first few Europa League Group Stage matches, but would ultimately make a massive impact in the later rounds: his goal at Juventus would prove vital in the setup for what is arguably the most memorable match in the club’s history. Yet, I had completely forgotten he scored that until twitter reminded me. Shame on me.

Under Mark Hughes Etuhu started 23 matches, and was a substitute five times (with four coming in the last five matches). He played in 57% of the league minutes, scoring twice in the league and one in the FA Cup.

But things changed last season. Etuhu was struggling for a starting position. He started just nine games in 2011-12, none after February 4, and was a substitue for just 13 matches totaling just 26% of the overall league minutes. When Jol dropped Dembele into the center of midfield, it was the beginning of the end. Dembele thrived in that free role at the center of the park and elevated his game to a new level. Etuhu would muster just 74 total minutes of playing time in the final 14 matches (that’s an average of about five per).

It may be easy to simply point out Etuhu didn’t fit into Jol’s plans, and so he had to move on. But that’s only telling half the story. Etuhu signed a four year extension in September 2010. He is currently 30 and still had two years left on that deal. Although additional financials aren’t revealed, those facts alone are a bit worrying. He’s a good player, but a four year deal was too much. It was simply time to annul.

He will be missed.

Timmy Gelles is a writer for Craven Cottage Newsround. A Fulham fan since 2006 who, unlike Rich, doesn’t hope Hugo gets a haircut. E-mail him or follow him on twitter.

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