This article is part of the overall Ekstraklasa preview I’m doing at Polish Football Scout. Of the several pieces prepared for the readers who wish to gain an insight on what the forthcoming season of football in Poland could bring, the main theme will be numbers. You can find more about planned blog posts here, as well as links to the ones that have already been published.
One: Maor Melikson (Wisła Krakow). Easy one. He has been in blistering form already this season for Wisła in Champions League and everybody see him as champions main force in Ekstraklasa. Very fast, skillful, likes to dribble, can finish nice move or create situation… Has everything to succeed in better league than Polish one and participation in European competition can only bring more focus on his qualities.
Two: Michał Kucharczyk (Legia Warszawa). This is a long shot but I think it would be the best thing for young talent. I’m sure he will come good out of competition for place on the wing or in Legia’s attack. He is fast, likes to dribble and certainly his technique is one of the best in Ekstraklasa but still has a lot of work ahead of him. If he won’t fail in making decent step forward, will focus on his and club’s football, there is a chance he will move forward.
Three: Ebi Smolarek (Polonia Warszawa). That’s easy one and not fully concentrated on football. As one of Polish best player in last ten years refused to renegotiate his contract with Polonia, the owner sent him to reserves and then he ended up even lower – now his training sessions are all about running or practicing at the gym. No football at all. And even though he claims he wants to stay at Polonia (but on his conditions, wisely), there may be an offer from abroad that will match what Polish club is paying. This is not small sum but he still has few years ahead of him and talent that can be used or brought back by talented coach.
Four: Tomasz Kupisz (Jagiellonia Bialystok). He signed for Jaga just year ago and made great start to the Ekstraklasa, former Wigan youngster. But the second round was as for the whole club and Jagiellonia finished fourth instead of first. Despite that, Kupisz showed why he deserves to be in the circle of attention from foreign agents – good technique, he is brave, has powerful shot and knows how to cross well… but his form must be more constant than it has been last year. If he achieves that and Jagiellonia will play as good as he, there is a chance for a move forward.
Five: Artjoms Rudnevs (Lech Poznan). Can there be ever an article about Latvian striker that will not mention his fascinating day in Turin? He had problem with injuries later in the season but whenever Bakero put him on, he was close to scoring or actually found the net. He is very talented, his finishing is one of the best I’ve seen for a while and Lech will try to capitalize on his potential if he will show his qualities this season. Couple of millions will be tempting for a club that probably will have to strengthen own squad before another challenge in Europe…
Six: Ivans Lukjanovs (Lechia Gdansk). This may be controversial as only few rate him as high as I do but I strongly believe that if he will settle much better in Tomasz Kafarski’s team, then the move will come. He is very good talented player, although suffering as he may not be strong enough against more physical opponents. Good technique once again, dribbling skills and exceptional passing which is very helpful in Lechia’s fast, counter-attacking football. Will be interesting how he develops this season, as people are talking more often about Traore or Benson.
Seven: Maciej Sadlok (Polonia Warszawa). Is this his last chance to move abroad and not stay in Ekstraklasa forever? For as talented and skillful, versatile defender as he is, there must be more options ahead and if he will not suffer from strong competition in Polonia’s back line, there is a chance that not only move abroad will come, but also place in the team for Euro 2012.
Eight: Maciej Jankowski (Ruch Chorzow). Not only for his talents (that are yet to be shown fully in Ekstraklasa) but for the reason that he has really good managers. They did astonishing work so far to make him recognizable footballer, make him be regarded as one of the brightest talents we have. His season was fairly good, although record should be higher. We will see if he steps up from the eight goals he scored last campaign for Ruch – certainly, the team needs him more than ever and money from possible move would be good help to small budget they have.
Nine: Piotr Celeban (Śląsk Wroclaw). They have few good, talented players that could feature on that list but I firmly believe that there are people looking also at defensive minded footballers. He may not be impressing with European form recently but I’m sure he will be back at his best form rather sooner than later. He is reading the play very well, good positioning and tackling. The bonus is his scoring record in Polish league, certainly knows how to find space and place in front of opponents box.
Ten: Nika Dzalamidze (Widzew Lodz). This may be a move abroad or to the better club in Ekstraklasa but I can’t see him staying much longer in Widzew. Talented, young, bright and skillful winger they have and one more year in Poland will make him better player… if he stays as brave as he was in his first months here. This will be also an information for us how good scouting webs have foreign clubs in Polish league. Widzew will look to make the deal as big as possible…