Signed from Anderlecht for £4.5 million in the summer of 2001, Tomasz Radzinski was supposed to allay some of the disappointment attached to Francis Jeffers’ departure from the club. In many ways, the 27 year-old striker was a similar player to the lamented prodigy: quick, a fine dribbler, and a reasonable finisher.
At the time of his arrival, Radzinski was virtually unknown to English football fans – save for a brace in an October 2000 Champions League fixture that brought Anderlecht an unexpected win over Manchester United. Born in Poland, Radzinski’s parents fled communism in the 1980s, eventually settling in Canada. He started out in the Canadian leagues, moving to Europe with Germinal Ekeren of Antwerp, then Anderlecht. The move to Everton came after a month-long stand off between Radzinski and the Belgian champions, with player power and his desire for a lucrative move to England eventually winning through.
The onset of Radzinski’s Everton career was delayed through injury – a persistent impediment through his three year long Goodison spell – and his belated involvement was not enough to prevent the unravelling of Walter Smith’s managerial reign. He fared better under David Moyes and was an important factor in the club’s initial renaissance under the new manager – his pace a rarity among an aging squad. Yet while quick, Radzinski’s movement and reading of the game were not always on the same level, and too often he was static while a midfielder tried to play him through. Nor was his finishing particularly remarkable: put through one-on-one with a goalkeeper, one always fancied his opponent. There were, however, some glorious moments – none better than his last minute winner against Southampton in February 2003, a piledriver that almost ripped the Gwladys Street net from its stanchions.
In a small squad his contribution was nevertheless valued by David Moyes, who at the end of the 2003/04 season offered the 30 year old a new three-year contract – in contravention of his own policy that ordinarily saw players of that age offered just a single year. His response? Public criticism of Moyes’s management while also urging Wayne Rooney to move elsewhere to ‘better himself.’ Moyes promptly sold the striker to Fulham for £1.75 million, where his form over three years was less than impressive, while Everton went from strength to strength without him.
Following his release from Craven Cottage at the end of the 2006/07 season, Radzinski moved to Skoda Xanthi in Greece, before returning to Belgium, where he found his level again in the country’s second tier.