Nobody believes the void left by Tomáš Necid's move to PFC CSKA Moskva, one of several significant winter departures, will be easy to fill, least of all SK Slavia Praha who have brought in three forwards to replace him.
The 19-year-old Necid was the top scorer in the Czech 1. Liga going into the winter break after registering eleven times in 16 games to help Slavia build a six-point advantage at the summit. He departed for Russia in January, however, and with hopes that CSKA may loan back the teenager after the winter recess apparently leading to nothing, coach Karel Jarolím has delved into the transfer market.
An Under-21 international team-mate of Necid, Tomáš Pekhart, has returned to the club he started out at on an 18-month loan after failing to make an impression in England. He is yet to make his debut for Tottenham Hotspur FC, whom he joined at the age of 16 in summer 2006, though he has scored once in nine appearances on loan at second-tier Southampton FC this term.
Pavel Fořt has had similar travails since leaving Prague to try his luck abroad two years ago. The 25-year-old striker was unable to settle at Toulouse FC, spending last season on loan at Belgian side FC Molenbeek Brussels Strombeek, and will try to revive his career at Slavia. As will Aleš Besta, a team-mate of Fořt at the 2003 FIFA U-20 World Cup, who has returned to Prague as a free agent on a three-year deal after parting company with 1. FC Brno in September.
Although Besta has at least found the net regularly over the past couple of seasons all three players are something of an unknown quantity for Jarolím, who has had to deal with other eye-catching winter departures too. Slovakian defender Matej Krajčík has swapped a title challenge for a fight against Serie A relegation with Reggina Calcio and Martin Latka has joined Greek side Panionios GSS. Meanwhile, midfielder Mickaël Tavares made a €1.5m switch to Hamburger SV, explaining: "I'm really looking forward to the new challenge and the possibility of playing in front of 57,000 people. This will be a step up for me."
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