It may seem strange and confusing but Jeleń’s career so far proves that there is one common language for the people of football. Unnoticeable bound that makes the team click despite having player that hasn’t got a clue what the manager is talking about before the match. That may be a slight overstatement but even Jeleń is not hiding the fact that his use of French language is as limited as my knowledge of the Mandarin Chinese.
But it’s not the brain, nor IQ that makes him great footballer. He can score from the outside of the box, he can finish the move with a simple tap-in, has great acceleration and good dribbling skills. Always hungry for a goal, he may be regarded as an individualist but what is expected from a striker, is that he must scores, a lot. Last two seasons in Ligue 1 prove that he can do that, helping Auxerre to European qualification with his fourteen goals in each of them.
But as with every player, there is always a place for improvement and Jeleń is no exception to this. He will turn thirty this April and following his fifth season in France he may be a bit disappointed that he didn’t move to a better club despite being connected with several strong teams during last two transfer windows.
This season shows that lack of concrete deals for Jeleń may not only be a reason of high demands of his current club, Auxerre. Polish striker is seriously struggling with his back, as another problems occur every season. Injury-prone, he is always missing some part of the season while spending some time in medical department of his club. This year, he played only in seven games and missed fourth months of the season, only recently coming back from the injury in thirteen minutes episode against Monaco. On Friday he played in reserves friendly but was average and did not show anything of his old form from last season. But it’s not his recovery that is the main topic in the media regarding Polish striker.
Jeleń’s contract runs out this summer and recently it was stated that negotiations between him and Auxerre are not going too well but slowly, both parties are getting through to the final stages of extending current deal. Despite that, interest from other clubs was also reported by the media in France and Poland. But todays news from French journal, ‘Le Parisien’, showed that it may be not the end of Jeleń’s saga this winter as he put the contract talks on hold when several clubs from Russia, with Rubin Kazan as the main favorites to sign him, contacted the players’ agent.
More surprisingly, it seems that this story has no true in it, as the player himself said on his website that reports of putting the talks on hold are laughable, cause there was no offer and no will from the French club to start negotiations up to this point. He states that there was no contact from any Russian club and the only thing he is focusing on now, is getting back to his best form.
Setting his priorities right is one thing but discussing his future is as much important and connected with it. Despite that he may start negotiations with new club and sign for them any day now, it is his form that may be the most important thing when interested parties will come to him with the deal. If he starts scoring for Auxerre in next few months, the club will most definitely offer him contract extension, while others may be interested as well and take their chance to get scoring players signature for free (almost). Jeleń must know that every step he takes during the rest of the season may be decisive for the rest of his career and it may be the last and the best contract in his career.
Personally, I think he will sign new contract with his current club – they are counting on him, he is their main striker but it’s not Auxerre’s decision after all. But Jeleń is a person that rarely likes to change his environment, he may not be able to settle down easily in new country, with new language to refuse to learn, new coach to get on with and partners to gain the bond I was talking about and there is no other Polish member in the squad, like Dariusz Dudka in Auxerre. Most importantly, he stated more than once that Auxerre feels like home for him and his family, despite he can’t understand what the hell people around are talking about – it’s probably You, Irek.