West Bromwich Albion took another step in what is going to be a long road to Premier League survival last night when they signed Jan Kozak for the remainder of the season.
Manager Bryan Robson has been so impressed with Slovakia international Kozak that he hopes to bring him to The Hawthorns permanently during the close season.
Kozak, a statuesque 6ft 4in midfielder, joins from Artmedia Bratislava where he has had experience of Champions League football.
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"I was really impressed with Jan when I saw his performances in the Champions League against Porto and Rangers," said Robson yesterday. "We had him watched and then brought him over for a few days to take a look at him in training.
"Jan is an attacking central midfielder. He is very skillful and can create and score goals. Hopefully, he will bring those attributes into the club."
The Baggies hope to be able to field Kozak in Tuesday's Premiership game at Charlton Athletic. They must now await international clearance for the 25-year-old who scored seven goals in 34 appearances last term when Artmedia won the Superliga crown for the first time in their 108-year history.
Kozak has been no slouch this season either, having scored six goals in 17 appearances.
He started his career at Kosice in 1997 in Slovakia before moving to Belgian top-flight side Lokeren for a season and then Czech giants Slavia Prague for two years.
He joined Artmedia in 2003 and helped the Slovakian league leaders join Liverpool in becoming the first-ever sides to advance into the group stages of the Champions League from the first qualifying round. They eventually finished third behind Inter Milan and Rangers in Group H.
Of course football's revolving doors - particularly as the hectic January transfer window nears its end - can often mean that as one player is ushered in, so must abother be waved out.
Southampton are believed to be interested again in Robert Earnshaw. Albion's transfer-listed striker had been linked with Saints amid suggestions of a swap involving Nigel Quashie and David Prutton.
However, a more realistic option is that the Championship club, who are seeking a replacement for Arsenal-bound Theo Walcott, would want to take Earnshaw on loan for the remainder of the campaign.
Indications from Albion's boardroom suggest they are only interested in a permanent transfer, but that could change as it would free up Wales international Earn-shaw's wages and enable Robson to manoeuvre in the transfer market.
Robson finally acquiesced to Earnshaw's transfer demands after his performance at Reading last week - a display that cost the striker a lot of goodwill among Albion's travelling support.
Despite the absence of Kanu, Diomansy Kamara and Zoltan Gera, Robson still chose to omit Earnshaw from the 16-man squad for the Sunderland game on Saturday. Teenager Stuart Nicholson, who made his debut, replaced him on the bench.
"The situation is still the same with Earnshaw: he wants to get away from the club and he has made that known," said Robson. "I thought his performance against Reading was really poor and he felt really tired after the game.
"That is why I went for young Nicholson, who has been showing some really good promise in the reserves."
If Earnshaw departs on loan, it could scupper any possibility of Geoff Horsfield leaving The Hawthorns before the end of January.
The 32-year-old striker has repeatedly been linked with a move to Sheffield United and now that Neil Warnock has had two bids for Ade Akinbiyi rejected by Burnley, he could revive his interest in Horsfield.
With Senegal and Nigeria both winning their opening African Cup of Nations fixtures, it looks as though Kamara and Kanu will be out of contention for a while longer.
Gera's absence is also causing Robson concern and he is optimistic that Kozak's arrival will freshen up his midfield engine room.
"The biggest miss for us so far this season is Gera, as he is our best player," said Robson. "He has played no part for us this season.
"I brought Kamara in during the summer so, if anything happened to Gera or Jonathan Greening, then you have got a third player to provide you with width.
"With Kamara being away and Gera injured, it doesn't leave us with too many options. But you cannot carry five wide players in the squad and that has been a problem for us in the midfield area.
"We have had that many injuries that the same lads are having to do it week in and week out."