14:35 14th August 2013
Clarke delighted to have fan-favourite on board again
ALBION have further boosted their squad three days before the new Barclays Premier League season by re-signing fan-favourite Zoltan Gera.
The 34-year-old Hungary midfielder has this afternoon put pen to paper on a one-year contract.
Gera has been sidelined since January with an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury and became a free agent on June 30.
But he continued his rehab at the club with a view to earning a new deal, which has been finalised today.
He has been pencilled in to return to full training on Monday week and, if all goes to plan, he will be available for first-team selection in early October.
Head coach Steve Clarke said: “It’s great to have Zoltan on board for another season.
“He’s a top professional and good within the group.
“I believe his form last season before his injury was as good as at any time in his career and our main aim is to get him back to that level as quickly as possible.
“If he reaches that level again, he will be a great asset for us.”
Gera made a successful return from a similar knee injury at the start of last season, scooping the Goal-of-the-Season Award for his wonder strike in the opening-day win against Liverpool.
He made 18 appearances last term, scoring three other vital goals, with his strikes against QPR, Sunderland and Norwich also helping to secure Barclays Premier League wins.
Richard Garlick, Albion’s Sporting & Technical Director (Designate), added: “I’m delighted we’ve managed to agree a deal that suits all parties.
“It’s been well documented that Zoltan has had rotten luck with injuries over the past couple of years but when he has played he has been different class. The amount of goals and assists he provided last season underlines this.
“He has worked extremely hard to get himself fit and we’re looking forward to seeing him pull on Albion shirt again in the near future.
“Zoltan is very popular in the dressing room and among the fans. He’s a great character to have at the club.”
Gera moved to Fulham on a free transfer in June 2008 but rejoined Albion on a Bosman in August 2011.
He had previously spent four years with the Baggies, scoring 25 times in 155 appearances, after moving to The Hawthorns from Ferencvaros in 2004.
Last season, Gera became Albion’s all-time record international caps holder.
He made 31 appearances for Hungary during his first spell at Albion. He then surpassed the 33 caps Stuart Williams earned for Wales as an Albion player between 1950 and 1962 by making his 34th appearance for the Magyars against Andorra last September.
In total, Gera has 74 international caps and 22 goals to his name.