All summer, one Polish international has been linked with a move away from his current club. Ryan Hubbard tells why a move to Belgium would be a good one.
Despite being linked with numerous top-flight clubs across Europe, Polish midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak seemingly has his heart set on a move to Belgian champions RSC Anderlecht this summer. In an interview with Belgian paper ‘Het Nieuwsblad’, the 24 year-old spoke of his desire to win trophies, and his hopes that a deal can be reached between Anderlecht and his current club Stade de Reims.
Before the 2013-14 season had even finished, a move away from Reims was heavily written about on social media and in gossip columns. German Bundesliga clubs Werder Bremen, Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen were linked with a move for the highly-rated Pole, whilst he was also attracting the interest of English Premier League sides Leicester City, West Ham, Sunderland and Everton. It was even mentioned in the French press that Arsene Wenger had sent scouts to watch Krychiu, although interest was never officially confirmed.
With just a year left on his contract in North-Eastern France, the club and the player know that a move away now is in the best interests of both parties. If Reims cannot agree a deal for Krychowiak, they risk losing one of their most valuable assets for nothing in a year’s time. Krychowiak meanwhile still has time to develop his game even further – something he’ll be able to do with regular playing time at a higher level.
Though a move to Arsenal would likely see him spend large amounts of time on the bench, many of the other clubs linked would likely be able to offer him significant time on the pitch in one of the world’s top leagues.
But with Anderlecht showing interest in the defensive midfielder, they offer a completely different proposition.
The Belgian Jupiler league may not be as strong as either the Bundesliga or the Premier League. It may arguably even not be as strong as Ligue 1, in which he currently plies his trade. However ‘Les Mauves et Blancs’ are able to offer something much more valuable – both the chance to compete for silverware, and regular Champions League football.
The thirty-three-time Belgian Champions have won four of the last five Jupiler League trophies, and have been a familiar face in Europe having competed in the last two editions of the Champions League. By virtue of their title win in May, they are guaranteed a spot in the group stage this coming season too.
It will be here where Krychowiak will be hoping to excel. With strong performances in UEFA’s flagship competition, attention would undoubtedly be attracted from across the continent. Playing at the highest level would also cement his already-strong position as one of the first names on Poland boss Adam Nawałka’s team sheet.
The ex-Arka Gdynia and Bordeaux man will be seen by Anderlecht supporters as an almost-direct replacement for Senegalese midfielder Chiekhou Kouyaté, who recently departed for West Ham. But while Kouyaté was known as a marauding box-to-box midfielder, Krychowiak’s forte is in a slightly more defensive role. That though doesn’t mean he isn’t hard-working – far from it in fact. He is tireless in helping the defence to break down opposition attacks, before distributing the ball to begin a counter-attack.
A number of Anderlecht supporters hope that Krychowiak can be the addition to their squad which will finally help them to break through the Champions League Group stage – something which they haven’t done since topping a group consisting of Manchester United, Dynamo Kyiv and PSV Eindhoven in 2000.
The one stumbling block could be the fee associated with the transfer; Reims are holding out for an alleged €7 million, while Anderlecht are hoping to thrash-out a deal much closer to €5 million. If a compromise can be reached somewhere in between, it would be certain to break the Purple-and-Whites’ transfer record – the five-million Euros paid to Partizan Belgrade for Aleksander Mitrović last summer. If the transfer is in excess of €6 million it would also break the record for the highest fee paid for a Polish player, currently held by Adrian Mierzejewski after his move to Saudi Arabian champions Al-Nassr just last week.
However with just a year left on his contract, Krychowiak will be confident that a deal can be reached between the two clubs – either Reims accept less than their desired amount, or they will risk losing him for nothing next summer.
“Of course I’m interested in [a move to] Anderlecht. It is a beautiful club that wins prizes every season and will play in the Champions League. That is the dream of every footballer” said Krychiu in his interview with Het Nieuwsblad. “I also visited Brussels last year with my family. I was charmed by the city”.
And should the move come to fruition, the 18-time Polish international will know exactly where to turn for advice:
“If I sign in Belgium, Marcin Wasilewski will help me. He is an icon at Anderlecht and knows everything about the club.”
While it may only be the next stepping stone on Krychowiak’s journey, there is no reason he cannot follow in the footsteps of Wasyl in becoming the next Polish legend at the a Stade Constant Vanden Stock.