HE failed to live up to expectations as a £3.5m signing at Manchester United, but Danny Lennon hopes Eric Djemba-Djemba can play a part in ensuring St Mirren keep their place in the SPFL Premiership at the end of the season.
The Paisley club announced last night that they have signed the 32-year-old midfielder for the rest of the campaign and he will be officially unveiled today.
Djemba-Djemba, brought to Old Trafford from Nantes by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2003, supposedly as Roy Keane's successor, joins as a free agent, having left Partizan Belgrade in December.
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Djemba-Djemba made only 39 appearances for Manchester United, lasting just 18 months before being sold to Aston Villa for £1.5m. He had a loan spell at Burnley before moving to Denmark, where he rebuilt his career with Odense. He was part of their team when they played Motherwell in the Europa League in 2010.
While Ferguson, a former St Mirren manager, of course, had a good success rate in signing players, he admitted in his autobiography that the Cameroonian was among those who did not work out. Ferguson wrote: "Kléberson, Eric Djemba-Djemba and David Bellion were among the new faces . . . you can't dodge the truth about those years.
"We rushed down the path of buying in proven players - who we thought would match our standards right away . . . Djemba-Djemba had been playing at a decent level in France.
"Eric struck us as potentially another top central midfielder. I went to see him playing in France and he did really well. He understood the game, nipped attacks in the bud very well and was available for €4m.
"He was a smashing lad but he was hammered by the press for not being a signature signing. They always liked the marquee names."
Djemba-Djemba insisted recently that he has no difficulty in motivating himself to play at a lower level than his former heights.
He said. "Manchester United are a great team but, if they don't give you the chance and you have the opportunity to play for teams that want you, you should go and enjoy it.
"I stayed four years at Odense and played more than 100 games. We played in the Europa League for three years."