John Carew (Striker)
5th Oct 1979 (Lørenskog, Norway)Signed:
6th Aug 2011 (£0)Contract:
1 year + 1 year optionPrevious Club:
Aston VillaKUMB Awards:
Worst Player 2011/12; Worst Signing 2011/12.
A long and eventful professional career began in the late 1990s at Valerenga, who plucked the gangly teenager from his hometown club Lørenskog. Having made a name for himself as a goalscorer with considerable talent, Carew was snapped up by top Norwegian club Rosenborg at the age of 20 in 1999.
Having featured in the Champions League for Rosenborg, it wasn't long before the striker - who became Norway's first black international at the age of 19 in 1998 - began to be linked with a string of top European clubs. But it was Spanish La Liga side Valencia who eventually snapped up the prodigious young talent for €8.5million in 2000.
Three years with Els Taronja
saw Carew become one of Europe's hottest properties, a period during which he featured prominently in two La Liga winning squads and the 2001 Champions League final team. But in 2003 he was sent on loan to Roma for the season, a move that effectively ended his career in Spain.
Carew moved to Turkey with Besiktas in 2004 on a permanent deal and hit 14 goals in 27 appearances during that season. That return to form prompted Ligue 1 Lyon to splash out €7.6million the following summer in order to take him to France. However his spell in France proved to be troublesome and having scored just 14 goals in two years, Carew was sold to Aston Villa.
After a slow start at Villa Park, Carew ended the 2007/08 season as the club's top goalscorer with 13 to his credit. He bettered that by two in 2008/09, and by two more to finish with 17 in 2009/10. However the arrival of Gerard Houllier - who he had fallen out with at Lyon - marked the end of his spell at Villa Park.
Having been left out on a number of occasions by Houllier, Carew moved to Stoke on loan for the second half of the 2010/11 season. Despite being released by Villa at the end of the season, Stoke failed to offer the striker a permanent contract - allowing Sam Allardyce to step in and bring him to West Ham.