UNSETTLED Zimbabwe international Benjani Mwaruwari is top of the shopping list at a lower division club, barely three months after joining English premiership side Portsmouth.
Mwaruwari is the latest target for Derby County who are langui
shing at number 19 in the 24-team Coca-Cola Championship, formerly the English division one.
The 27-year-old Zimbabwean has failed to impress at Portsmouth, who bought him for a club record £4,1 million from French side AJ Auxerre in the hope that he would ease their relegation worries.
Mwaruwari has failed to find the net in seven matches since his high-profile move to Pompey in January, fuelling speculation that the striker might find himself out of favour at the struggling club.
With the March 23 deadline for transfers and loans fast approaching, Derby’s need to bring in fresh blood is becoming ever more pressing and Mwaruwari now tops the club’s priority list, according to media reports.
Derby had previously been linked with Mwaruwari’s fellow striker at Portsmouth, Bulgarian Svetoslav Todorov.
Arsenal’s young forward Arturo Lupoli was also on top of Derby’s shopping list until he sustained a suspected broken bone in his foot and is expected to be out for up to two weeks or longer.
“I am not going to bring somebody in who is not good enough. I will not take players for the sake of it,” Derby manager Terry Westley said.
Mwaruwari has in the past pledged to remain at Portsmouth even if the South Coast club were relegated.
However, Portsmouth coach Harry Redknapp still believes Mwaruwari can be a star at Pompey and would not let go his expensive striker.
“I still think he’s a good player,” Redknapp was quoted in the media as saying this week. “I just think he needs a goal.”
Redknapp, who was advised by the respected Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to buy Mwaruwari, said he was impressed by the Zimbabwean’s commitment to succeed at the club.
“He has been playing with a groin strain, but he is a terrific professional and wants to play all the time. One or two tend to go down when thy get the slightest thing wrong with them, but he wants to play and full credit to him,” Redknapp said.