Polish league was always attractive for foreign players as agents, clubs made it clear that it’s close enough to Germany and scouts from Bundesliga will see a decent player and his performances… if he delivers them in Ekstraklasa. Polish media are first to report how many scouts from concrete western clubs visit important games in the league which is undoubtedly used by those telling that in Poland the streets are paved in gold.
Did it changed recently? Not a bit, maybe just the origins of players coming to play for Polish clubs – usually we had a lot of Brazilians and generally speaking South Americans playing in Ekstraklasa, once Pogoń Szczecin was build only on the footballers from the country that gave Pele to the world. Now the markets for clubs are different – Balkans come first, then there are Slovakians and Czechs. This season the foreigners were staggering 32% of the players that stepped even only for a single minute on Ekstraklasa pitches to show their skills. Is it their class and lack of promising talents in Poland that make them so popular in domestic league?
We have enough talents in Poland but the problem, as always for last two decades, lies in the training and lack of long-term plan for youngsters in almost every Polish club. Also the class of the foreigners is lately less doubtful as scouting, or should I say contacts clubs have with agencies and scouts from different regions of the world, generally got better and we are not overloaded with average players with no future. The reason for such popularity of investing clubs money in footballers from abroad is that demands of Polish stars gone way too high and after years of paying foolishly them undeserved wages, club boards decided that enough is enough – the expenses should be rationalized.
Polish footballers class is no different to that known to you all over the world - young stars earning huge money, having a lot of free time and less brain in their heads. It is somewhat devastating to see another talent falling into mediocrity, being just too lazy to stay longer after training session and develop their strength or overcome certain weaknesses. Marcin Rybus and Dawid Janczyk are the latest victims and examples of modern football tendency that spoiled them out. While this sad trend is continuing to grow up, the same happens with transferring foreigners to Polish league – the gate to western Europe. But Polish footballer is the first to notice when the cash flow stops to pour and exactly this happened in Ekstraklasa – time to move on then?
Czesław Michniewicz, Widzew Łódź manager, said yesterday about possible move of his striker, Marcin Robak, to Turkish club Konyaspor Kulubu: ‘If he wants to develop his game then he should stay but if Robak decides to get rich first, he will move to Turkey’. Is he serious? Latest UEFA Leagues Ranking shows that Turkish league is on tenth place in Europe while Ekstraklasa sits fourteen places behind with twenty rank points being the difference. But he is somewhat right – especially when Polish league is quickly developing with new stadiums, rational finances and more focus on the background. Marcin Robak is not the only victim of the money race – add young winger Kamil Grosicki moving to Sivasspor, Sławomir Peszko off to 1.FC Koln while having the chance to battle with Lech in Europa League, Brożek brothers leaving Wisła for Trabzonspor (another Turkish club!) to face tougher competition for place in the squad but enjoying bigger wages.
But we have seen stories like that over the years – even the biggest prospects failed to impress abroad but earned hundreds of thousands and came back knowing that there is always second chance waiting in their homeland. Latest examples? Bartłomiej Grzelak signed for Jagiellonia Białystok after just eight games and three goals for Russian side Sibir, while Krzysztof Łągiewka is following his path after one year without first team football in Krylia Sovetov Samara. More to come – goalkeeper Wojciech Kowalewski signed for Arka Gdynia after getting rich in Sibir. Recent years saw others coming back after unsuccessful football but financially beneficent trips to better leagues – Radosław Matusiak, Andrzej Niedzielan, Bartosz Ślusarski…
Does it mean that those players mentioned and transferred this winter will all fail abroad? I’m not that stupid to judge only after few days but certainly high expectations played their part in those deals and it simply makes fans sad that clubs are forced to invest in foreigners than in spoiled youth. We shouldn’t blame young talents for all of this as they simply follow the examples of well known names, already tested in the game, rich and famous, not so willing to explore their skills. The bigger question is when this silly tendency will end and Polish footballers will finally understand that they are already earning silly money for the level they present.
Boards, directors and managers are already there and knowing that they can have the same class for less cash no one should question they short-thinking strategy of signing players from Balkans, Africa or East Europe. We absolutely have to demand that clubs should invest the difference in their youth systems but that tactic, after years of neglecting this issue teams will have to wait few years to have some improvement and effect on the team.
Against Modern Football? Screw it – if clubs can earn money and spend it wisely it’s only for the benefit of the fans, league and Polish football generally. It should rather go ‘Against Modern Footballers’ as they remain growing problem to which their forced exodus from Poland may be the only solution. Humbled, they will come back but hopefully it will be completely different league to welcome and laugh out their demands.