Date: 15th July 2011 at 11:07pm
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Dzmitry Verkhovtsov is a player that I’ve been meaning to write about for a while, and with the Seasiders having Spanish centre half Miguel Angel Llera on trial, now seems like an ideal time as I believe Dzmitry is potentially a much better alternative.

I’ll forgive you straight away for not knowing who he is; he’s only been on my radar for around a year now.

He’s from Belarus (he has 15 caps for them), plays for Naftan, is 24, and can play at centre back or as a defensive midfielder.

In 2009 he had a trial with Celtic and last Christmas had a trial with Everton. Although neither elected to sign him permanently, I feel he is a player worth taking a punt on.

It seems that we’ve got Llera on trial because Ollie wants to add a big centre half to the squad, and Dzmitry fits the bill perfectly.

He stands at 6ft 3inches tall, and is a colossus in the air; indeed, he is a real threat from set pieces having scored, on average, a goal every ten league games during his career to date.

Indeed, he’s very much in the mould of the traditional English centre half; tall, strong, doesn’t shirk a tackle and good in the air.

However, there are other strings to his bow – he’s far more than just a big brute. Occasionally playing in midfield, he’s comfortable on the ball, works hard for the team, has a good engine on him and a decent turn of pace.

He should be able to get a work permit with no issues (indeed, he’s generally greatly impressed at international level), however, on the downside I’m not sure whether he speaks English.

Of course we’ve actually got great depth at centre half and presumably if Llera signs he’d only be cover, but why not look to make an investment for the future (as chairman Karl Oyston promised we would do this summer) instead of simply signing a stop-gap?

After all, I don’t believe that Dzmitry would cost us much in either transfer fees or wages – we could probably get him for less than £500,000 and all indications point to him being on substantially less a week than the majority of our first team squad.

In my mind he’s certainly worth a punt.