Once again, a Western European transfer window passes by without the transfer of Górnik Zabrze attacker Prejuce Nakoulma. Now with just a handful of arguably smaller leagues still able to sign players currently contracted to other clubs, it looks extremely likely that the Burkinabe international will remain in the white, red and blue of Górnik until his contract finally expires in the summer.
Over the past few years, the fourteen-time Polish champions have been relying on the fact that Nakoulma would be sold for a decent amount, in order to help their ailing finances. So sure of being able to make a profit on his sale, Górnik even stumped up the cash to take the midfielder on a permanent contract whilst on a loan spell from Bogdanka Łęczna.
But after making the move to Górny Śląsk permanent almost two years ago, the Trójkolorowi have seen numerous attempts to make money on their prized asset fall by the wayside. Now it is almost certain that when he finally does move away from Silesia, the club won’t make a single złoty from the transfer.
Since joining the club back in 2011, Nakoulma has become a fan-favourite at Ulica Roosevelta. His performances and goals for the club have earned him international appearances and a number of suitors – not to mention the collection of roosters handed out to Górnik’s man-of-the-match during home appearances. But despite his impressive showings and interest from clubs all over Europe, transfers which occasionally seemed certain have failed to materialise.
Over the last few years, Freiburg, St. Etienne and even Watford have all been rumoured to be watching “Prezes”. But despite his insistence that he wanted to head to one of the Western European leagues, it was Russia’s Terek Grozny who came the closest to signing the 26 year-old during last summer. A late hiccup in contract negotiations however collapsed the deal, leaving Górnik with just one more chance to sell.
More impressive showings, and even more poultry was to follow during the first half of the 2013/14 season too. Widely regarded as one of the league’s top performing players, his nine goals in spring (equalling his season’s best) were sure to attract interest from outside of Poland – and they did indeed. But with a three-year contract all-but-inked with Istanbul side Besiktas, the Turkish transfer window slammed shut with Nakoulma still alongside his Górnik teammates in their winter training camp on the Mediterranean coast.
With another missed opportunity, it now looks as though Nakoulma will remain in Zabrze until the summer when he can move abroad on a free transfer. However one club who may have different ideas are Ekstraklasa leaders Legia Warszawa, who some reports claim are interested in taking him to the capital before the Polish window closes at the end of February.
Rumours began to circulate after Nakoulma’s agent was spotted at Legia’s stadium the day after the proposed move to Besiktas fell through. Articles soon appeared on Polish news portals stating that the reigning champions were preparing to make a move, however Górnik’s vice-president Krzysztof Maj was quick to quash the rumours stating that, in his opinion “Legia can not afford the transfer of the player at the moment “, and “the information that I have from Prejuce is that he was not, and is not interested in playing for Legia” . But as we’ve seen so far in the saga, things can change in a heartbeat.
So how real is the possibility of a move to Legia? Well with the player still on the south coast of Turkey, it may not be that close – if it is even a possibility at all. Whilst Maj’s comment that Legia “cannot afford” Nakoulma may not be meant in the literal sense, it does at least give an idea as to Górnik’s stance on selling their best player to a rival team.
The question is: How much do Górnik actually need the money right now? There is talk that Górnik may struggle to receive an Ekstraklasa license for next season due to their finances; but then again, that’s relatively normal talk for this time of year. The estimated €300,000 which Górnik would have received from Besiktas would have no doubt been helpful to the situation in Zabrze, but wouldn’t have cleared their debts completely.
However the club are still well in the hunt for the Ekstraklasa title, sitting five points behind Legia in second; as well as being the highest-ranked team remaining in the Polish Cup. If they harbour any aspirations of lifting their first piece of silverware since 1988, Górnik will need to keep a hold of their star players; and with the League and Cup double still a possibility, an on-form Nakoulma in Spring could be the difference between winning trophies or a disappointing season. Ultimately being crowned Mistrz Polski for the first time in 26 years, or even lifting their first Puchar Polski in 42 years, could be worth more than any money made from Nakoulma’s transfer.