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Albion seal late Popov deal

31 August 2012

Dynamo Kiev left-back joins on season-long loan

ALBION have completed a beat-the-deadline deal for Macedonia international Goran Popov.

The Dynamo Kiev left-back has joined on a season-long loan, with a view to a permanent deal, after being granted a work permit this afternoon.

The 27-year-old has passed a Hawthorns medical and will wear the No.4 shirt but won’t be eligible for tomorrow’s clash with Everton (ko 3pm).

Popov becomes the Baggies’ sixth summer signing and will provide strong competition for Liam Ridgewell after fellow left-backs Nicky Shorey and Joe Mattock departed the club at the end of last season.

“I’ve said many times over the past few weeks that we’ve been looking to bring in one more defender and I’m delighted we’ve managed to sign Goran,” said head coach Steve Clarke.

“We allowed two left-backs to leave at the end of last season so it’s very pleasing we’ve got another naturally left-sided player within the group to give us more balance.

“We’ve now got good competition for places in all areas of the squad.

“Goran is a player the club have closely monitored for around three years so we know what we’re getting.

“He has also given up the opportunity to play Champions League football with Dynamo Kiev to join Albion in the Premier League and he’s determined to do well here.”

Sporting & technical director, Dan Ashworth, added: “Goran first came to our attentions during our promotion season of 2009/10 but we missed out on him that summer when he joined Kiev.

“We’ve continued to monitor him and have seen him acquit himself well for Kiev in the Champions League and against Manchester City and Stoke in the Europa League.

“Goran is an established, experienced left-back who is tall, powerful, good on the ball and likes to get forward.

"I’m sure he will settle in really well with us in the Premier League.”

Popov played for his country at Under-19s and Under-21s level and currently has 36 senior caps to his name.

His early career saw him at Greek side AEK Athens as an 18-year-old and, in 2004, he moved to Red Star Belgrade, where he got his first taste of Champions League football.

Injury prevented him from kicking on with the Serbian outfit and a short loan spell at Polish side Odra Wodzislaw Slaski followed before he returned to Greece in 2005, spending two seasons at Egaleo and one at Levadiakos.

The 6ft2in defender’s performances earned him a move to Heerenveen and he enjoyed his first taste of silverware in 2009 when he won the KNVB Cup, scoring the opener in the final against FC Twente.

He spent one more season with the Dutch top-flight side before making the switch to Ukranian giants Dynamo in 2010, where he bagged two league runners-up medals.

In total, Popov has made 169 career league appearances, including 15 as a substitute, scoring five goals.

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