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Mixu’s Dundee United signings struggling to find success

Mixu’s Dundee United signings struggling to find success

A major part of Dundee United’s success this season has been down to gaffer Ray McKinnon’s astute signings.

Players like William Edjenguele, Tony Andreu and Frank van der Struijk have played their part in an impressive Championship run.

That’s been in stark contrast to around this time last year when then new boss Mixu Paatelainen moved to add experience to his squad.

He made a string of signings but, despite going for men who’d played at a high level, could not halt the slide toward relegation.

The Tele looks back at the players Mixu pinned his hopes on and discovers that, even after moving on from Tannadice, some are struggling to make an impact this season.

Eiji Kawashima

Dundee v Dundee United - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership - Dens Park

Having spent the second half of 2015 without a club until his move to United could be ratified, the Japanese international goalkeeper had another couple of months in the wilderness after departing Tannadice in June.

He then got fixed up with French club Metz but, to date, has failed to make a competitive appearance.

The 33-year-old remains a superstar back home in Japan but his lack of football could mean his international career is also now over.

Florent Sinama Pongolle

Florent Sinama-Pongolle
Florent Sinama-Pongolle

Having made a promising start on his debut in a 1-1 draw at Kilmarnock in early December, Pongolle got injured after 11 minutes against Partick a week later and wasn’t seen again until late February. He only made four appearances in tangerine.

After United, Chainat Hornbill in Thailand became the one-time Liverpool kid’s 10th senior club. In Asia his luck has improved and, for the first time in several years, games and goals have come with some regularity. Chainat were relegated but the Frenchman did enough to earn a new contract for next year.

Guy Demel

Guy Demel.
Guy Demel.

The former Borussia Dortmund, Hamburg and West Ham defender made 12 United appearances, though was clearly lacking match fitness when he signed up.

Many thought the French-born 35-times capped Ivory Coast international had hung up his boots when he left West Ham in the summer of 2015, so it was something of a surprise when he turned up at Tannadice.

He is back in the south of France and is on the books of amateur outfit Marseille Consolat. Demel has made just two appearances for them.

Gavin Gunning

20/03/16 LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP   DUNDEE UTD V DUNDEE   TANNADICE - DUNDEE   Dundee United's Gavin Gunning

Lost in his ignominious exit from Tannadice after picking up the ball and walking off during a game against Inverness was the fact Gunning was arguably the best performing of Mixu’s signings during what was the Irishman’s second spell at United.

After a summer that saw interest from America, Bulgaria and Romania come to nothing, Gunning got fixed up with the Tangerines’ Championship rivals Morton earlier this season. His form at Cappielow has been impressive and suggests he’s got his career back on track.

Riku Riski

Riku Riski
Riku Riski

With over 20 international caps and plenty experience, there were high hopes for the Finnish international when he arrived on loan from Rosenburg in January.

The midfielder, however, made little impact in a very brief stay. His only start came in a 4-1 home defeat against champions Celtic.

He quickly returned to his parent club and in the summer moved on to another Norwegian outfit, Odds Ballklub.

Edward Ofere

Edward Ofere
Edward Ofere

The striker joined United after a spell with Boluspor in Turkey.

He featured 13 times for the Tangerines, netting three goals.

He is currently unattached.

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