18 wrz 2010

Rudnevs hat-trick defines Lech's way

We rarely observe how players value rises rapidly in just 90 minutes. The Latvian Artjoms Rudnevs, who signed for Lech Poznań just six weeks ago, scored three times against Juventus Turin in first round of group stage in Europa League. First came from penalty, second from acrobatic volley and third... it was 92nd minute, Lech was losing the game 2-3 and You must simply see it. Great day for the strikers career but I'm almost sure that there were certain people in their homes, watching this on TV and enjoying every moment of his display. Just because they found him for the Polish club.

Since Lech fusion with Amica Wronki the club from Poznań is regarded as the new, if not main force in Polish Ekstraklasa. It's not simply because of results achieved on football pitch, both in the league and European cups, but also lots of stuff going on behind closed doors of the board and staff hired to make success on and off the field. It wasn't so easy from the start and most certainly they had to learn their lessons after mistakes been made in different areas of running the football club.

Filling the new stadium (soon to be open) will be the easier one than creating a complete new football structure, beginning from youth teams and ending at scouting for the first squad. The last thing was and probably still is the toughest one as nobody in Poland had proper scouting network. Some still argues that this situation hasn't changed much since then. Not me, though.

Of course, it wasn't just heaven for Lech's scouting department - signings of Fenan Salčinović, Haris Handžić, Anderson Cueto and Gordan Golik were classic flops despite every one of them been described as huge talents. Lech built their net around Poland simultaneously to the one in eastern Europe and Scandinavia, counting on people recommended by players agents and several agencies. Also, much was heard about the transfer committee created in 2008. Five man were discussing signing every player and at least three votes had to be 'for' to cash in the transfer. The head of scouting department, chairman, his vice, coach and one other member were involved in Semir Stilić transfer. The Bosnian attacking midfielder was found on... YouTube and then scouted to get five votes 'for' or 'yes' to sign him - the least convinced about him was Franciszek Smuda, now coach of Polish national team, then Lech manager.

That's why the transformation and professionalism of Lech's scouting department was then doubted.  Critics also pointed to the moment when Andrzej Czyżniewski left the club to join Arka Gdynia, while he was the head scout in Poznań. Since then, there is no place for another mistakes in signing unknown talents from Balkans or South America just to prepare them for first squad football. Players for their reserves playing in youth league are scouted around the country and all foreign scouts do their job to strengthen Lech straight away. Results in last year or so? Sergey Krivets, Jan Zapotoka and mainly the man of the hour, Artjoms Rudnevs. All of them came to Lech for about 1 mln Euro, while only selling Robert Lewandowski to Borussia gave the club 4,5 mln Euros. 

Now, the cries after Czyżniewski are no longer heard as after mistakes been made, people involved in them learned their lesson. It is very hard to contact and even found out the names of the scouts working for Lech but clearly working in the shadow suits them and effects speaks for themselves. The database of players in Poznań club consist around 600 players, also they consult with bigger clubs to make themselves stronger and bigger on scouting scene. They may not still be up to the European standards in that matter but most certainly they are a example to follow for other clubs in Ekstraklasa.

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