Mauro Icardi, Mario Mandzukic, Cristiano Ronaldo. These are just some of the names that make Serie A one of the biggest and most popular football competitions on the planet.
However, one man making all the headlines this season has been Genoa’s Krzysztof Piatek. The 23-year-old forward leads the goalscoring charts with 10 goals in just 13 appearances – impressive for a player whose team sits in a lowly 14th place.
But who is he and where did he come from? Seb Sternik details his rise…
Just over six years ago, Piatek made his first real breakthrough. At the age of 17 he signed a deal with Lechia Dzierzaniow, a team in the fourth tier of Polish football but with a strong reputation of turning players into future internationals.
A year later the forward quickly caught the attention of Ekstraklasa side, Zaglebie Lubin. As the goals kept on coming, so did the interest from rival clubs.
After a four-season spell with Lubin, fellow top tier club Cracovia Krakow came knocking on the door and acquired the services of Piatek for €500,000.
The level of optimism was through the roof following his arrival. Amongst their ranks Cracovia now had Bartosz Kapustka, who led Poland to a quarter-final at the 2016 Euros, and Mateusz Klich, who today is one of the key players at Leeds United.
Optimism quickly changed into desperation as the club failed to impress and faced a real threat of relegation. Cracovia secured their Ekstraklasa status by a mere two points but it was mainly down to Piatek who ended the season as the league’s fourth highest goalscorer.
Piatek continued to improve in his second season with the Krakow side, going on to score 21 times and lead the team to a mid table finish. However, with Genoa putting €4.5million on the table, this was to be his final season with the Stripes.
Despite being the fifth biggest transfer in Polish football history, many in Genoa still scratched their heads over the signing.
A year earlier, Genoa scored as many goals as bottom-of-the-table Benevento and the club were desperate for a recognised forward rather than an unknown name with limited experience.
However, any doubt that surrounded the signing was quickly forgotten following Piatek’s ferocious debut. In his first 37 minutes for Genoa, the striker scored four goals against Lecce in the Italian Cup and left the field to a standing ovation.
While fans are frustrated with Genoa’s current form, Piatek remains a fan favourite. The Pole is now ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo in the Italian top-scorers charts – and his name has been linked with some of Europe’s biggest clubs. Chelsea and Barcelona are among those said to be keen – even though he’ll likely cost something nearer the €45million fee these days.
TEAMtalk also revealed back in September that Man City, Tottenham and Liverpool had also sent scouts to watch him – as interest and attention in the Pole continues to mount.
The question on everyone’s lips is whether the stiker can keep up his current run of form. If the goals keep on coming, don’t be surprised to see the player at a major club in the near future.