Krzysztof Piatek hot property at Genoa
Background Image: Mitsurinho, CC by 2.0
The Serie A made the raucous sound this summer. Cristiano Ronaldo’s groundbreaking Juventus switch rolled the drums. Gonzalo Higuain starred on the console in Milan. Unheralded, Krzysztof Piatek joined the party with Genoa. His impact has stolen the spotlight. The likes of Napoli and Barcelona reportedly offer a bigger platform. Genoa must resist.
There are not too many Italian clubs who can rival Genoa's pedigree. Founded in 1893, it is the country's fourth oldest, likewise in terms of elite titles, with a combined 17. Interestingly, the Red and Blues’ last domestic triumph is nearing a decade past. Genoa struggles to attain past glory.
The Old Fool is living up to its name, flirting back and forth with the lower ranks. Davide Ballardini showed incredible courage leading his squad to finish 12th last season. They wrestled relegation monsters in successive campaigns prior. With a potent poacher, perhaps those local contests can be replaced by continental nights in Liguria.
Last season, Ballardini’s men did everything right save putting the ball in the net. They were solid at the back, impenetrable at times. Genoa conceded 43, just one more than AC Milan who finished six places above. In the final third, the red Milanese were several miles ahead, though. Genoa’s 33 goals were second-worst in the division, matching overmatched Benevento.
The relatively unknown Piatek was snapped up for around €4 million to remedy the situation. Talk about breakthroughs in medicine. The 23-year-old had built a reputation as a rescue expert in Eastern Europe. Lechia Dzierzaniow. Zaglebie Lubin. Cracovia Krakow. His influence was quick. Last season, he was directly involved in 25 goals in 36 matches.
He needed just 70 seconds to announce himself to Lega Calcio in sensational fashion. Piatek struck four times against Lecce in the Italian Cup and left the field to a standing ovation. He followed that up with a dream Serie A debut and two other strikes at Sassulo.
The goals have continued to flow for the Pole. He has notched 13 others, including a brace at Frosinone. Midway through the season, Genoa has struck 25 times, eight adrift of last term's entire return. Piatek is responsible for almost 60 per cent. Only Ronaldo has enjoyed a better start to life in Italian football.
Piatek is a natural scorer. His goals come as volleys from crosses run in-behind or quick-reaction finishes in the penalty area. This understanding and technique make him a handful for every defender. Add aerial quality.
Already talks have begun that Genoa will make an early profit. Piatek was national news before he realised it in Italy, and is already drawing interest from overseas as well. The likes of Chelsea, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid have been linked with the striker, along with Juventus, Napoli and Roma.
President Enrico Preziosi has vowed to hold on to his star player until season's end at least. But in the crazy world of football, such assurances may not be taken too seriously.
“No-one will move until June. We need [Christian] Kouame, Piatek and [Gaston] Ramirez. So far there’s been a lot of talk, but no offers have arrived.”
Preziosi will do the club good by keeping hold of Piatek, especially with a new man at the helm. Cesare Prandelli is tasked with avoiding the perennial bottom hassle. Should Piatek ultimately leave this January, it will be clear the ex-Azzurri boss was set up to fail. Jose Mourinho and Manchester United is a case study.