Krzysztof Piatek’s Agent Provides Update on Polish Star’s Future Amid Interest From European Giants

The agent of Genoa’s highly-rated striker Krzysztof Piatek has revealed that there have been no formal offers for the Polish international, despite heavily reported interest from several of Europe’s biggest clubs.

The striker has averaged more than a goal a game in Serie A with nine in seven matches, and scored four times in his side’s Coppa Italia fixture against Lecce this season.

Genoa CFC v Lecce - Coppa Italia

The goalscoring form has caught the attention of many of Europe’s leading clubs, including ?Premier League side ?Chelsea who have been heavily reliant on Belgian winger Eden Hazard for both goals and inspiration this season.

Bundesliga heavyweights Bayern Munich ?have their eyes on him too as they seek a long-term replacement for Robert Lewandowski, and it has been suggested the Bavarian side’s president Uli Hoeness is a huge admirer of the Genoa and Polish international striker.

Napoli’s president meanwhile has also spoken about their interest in the player and Piatek himself has ?opened up on a potential move to Barcelona, though the striker was keen to distance himself from rumours linking him with an immediate move away from Genoa. 

Piatek’s agent Szymon Pacanowski echoed the striker’s sentiments by insisting that despite tentative talks, no official offer has been made for the forward.

Genoa CFC v Chievo Verona - Serie A

?Speaking to CalcioNapoli24, Pacanowski confirmed: “Many clubs have contacted us, but there has been no formal offer. Many clubs have contacted us over the last few weeks, but I won’t name them.

“However, there has been no formal offer from any club, including Napoli.”

Whilst Pacanowski acknowledged the interest the striker was attracting, he was to quick to insist that Piatek would be willing to stay for the foreseeable future at Genoa. 

He added: “His value has certainly risen over the three months in Serie A, but right now we are happy to remain at Genoa.”

It had been reported that Piatek is Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri’s first-choice transfer target when the January window opens, particularly with both ?Alvaro Morata and ?Olivier Giroud currently misfiring for the Blues.

After a relatively quiet window of incoming transfers at Stamford Bridge in the summer, Chelsea are being tipped for a much more active role when clubs are allowed to negotiate at the start of the new year.

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6 Things Fans of Big Clubs Across Europe Need to Know About Rumoured Target Nicolas Pepe

Lille winger Nicolas Pepe has been the subject of growing transfer speculation in recent weeks as he catches the eye of a number of clubs who could potentially prise him away.

With several of Europe’s elite sides among those apparent suitors, here’s a look at six things you need to know about this highly rated and extremely coveted emerging talent…

6. He’s Primarily a Right Winger

Although he has been known to operate through the middle as a central striker or ‘number 10’, Pepe primarily occupies a role on the right wing.

Standing at 6ft tall, it is there he is at his most dangerous, providing a direct threat either a goalscorer himself or laying on chances for others to finish.

5. He’s Still Inexperienced at Top Flight Level

Pepe is not the product of a prestigious academy and started his senior career at Poitiers in the amateur French lower leagues. From there, he moved onto Angers as a teenager and made his professional bow in Ligue 2 in 2014.

With Angers earning promotion in 2016, he only has two full seasons of top flight football under his belt, although it must be said that the 23-year-old made the step up look rather easy.  

4. He’s an Ivory Coast International

Although born in the suburbs of Paris, Pepe has represented Ivory Coast at international level since his first call up in 2016, receiving eligibility through his parents. Ironically, he actually made his debut in a friendly against birth nation France.

Pepe has appeared nine times for Les Elephants to date. He has also scored three goals, all of which have come in games played this calendar year.

He was named in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations squad and any club looking to sign him will have to make peace with the fact that he could be missing for several weeks in the middle of the season every other year for further AFCON tournaments in the future.

Bizarrely for a winger, Pepe usually wears the number two shirt for his country.

3. He’s Done More Than Neymar & Mbappe This Season

Pepe has enjoyed a blistering start to the Ligue 1 season with Lille. He was the standout player in a poor side that flirted with relegation in 2017/18, but now the team is singing from the same sheet and is currently second behind only reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain.

Pepe himself has scored six goals and provided six assists in nine Ligue 1 games so far this campaign, including a hat-trick in a 3-2 win over Amiens.

His tally of 12 combined goals and assists is actually more than PSG superstars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe (both 11), bought for a combined €400m, have managed in the same period.  

2. He’s Under Contract Until 2022

Pepe signed a long-term five-year deal when he joined Lille in 2017, which puts him under contract until the summer of 2022.

That means Lille are in a strong position to command a big fee should they wish to sell as the threat of losing him as a free agent is still barely visible on the horizon.  

1. He’s Been Linked With a LOT of Clubs Already

The other thing that will help Lille receive a handsome pay day is the potential for a bidding war if the reports of just how many clubs are taking an interest in Pepe are to be believed. 

Manchester United, Arsenal, Barcelona and Bayern Munich are the four most high profile clubs currently alleged to be keeping an eye on the player.

But Borussia Dortmund are also rumoured to be interested, along with Schalke, Sevilla, Real Sociedad and Lyon. It has even been suggested that the latter two have already made offers, with La Real reportedly bidding €20m and Lyon apparently bidding €30m.  

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Germany & Bayern Munich Keeper Manuel Neuer Brushes Off His Critics Following Tough Start to Season

?Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has hit back at his critics after enduring a disappointing start to the season for club and country. 

In September 2017, Bayern Munich’s captain suffered an injury setback as he fractured his foot, leaving him sidelined until April after several delays in his recovery. 

Netherlands v Germany - UEFA Nations League A

Having only completed three Bundesliga matches and one Champions League fixture, Neuer was thrusted into Germany’s starting lineup for the World Cup. The 2014 World Cup winners subsequently crashed out of the tournament at the group stage and Neuer’s disappointing performances were criticised, with particular emphasis on his costly mistake against South Korea which led directly to a goal. 

However, despite receiving further criticism for his performance in Germany’s 3-0 loss to the Netherlands on Saturday, Neuer has expressed his satisfaction with how he’s been playing.

Speaking to Kicker, Neuer said: “I’m totally fit and have no problems. I feel good, also with respect to my foot. 


‘I’m in good form. Except for the situation with the 0-1, I was happy with my game, but recently it’s just been that I haven’t had a situation where I can shine.’

One of the Bayern Munich goalkeeper’s recent critics was German legend Lothar Matthäus, who said this to TZ: “Manuel Neuer does not currently have the form and confidence he had before his serious injury.”

Such is Neuer’s worrying form, there have been calls by the German supporters and media for Barcelona goalkeeper, Marc-André Ter Stegen, to start against France on Tuesday evening.

However, Germany manager Joachim Löw has since responded to these requests. “We want to be dynamic in our attack against France so there’ll be some changes but that won’t be the case with Manuel Neuer. He will be our man in goal tomorrow”, Löw said to the Daily Mail

All eyes will be on Neuer as Germany take on World Cup winners France in group A1 of the UEFA Nations League on Tuesday evening. Löw will be hoping his side can respond well to their 3-0 loss against the Netherlands and put in a more accomplished performance, as has become expected from Die Mannschaft

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6 Things to Know About €60m-Rated Serie A Goalscoring Sensation Krzysztof Piatek

It’s nearly 2019, superstar players don’t just appear out of nowhere anymore.

Every signing is meticulously scouted and reported upon, every wonderkid profiled and hyped up long before they actually burst onto the scene. Except for when they aren’t.

Enter, Krzysztof Piatek.

The 23-year-old Poland international was a virtual unknown but weeks ago. However, after topping the leaderboard in the early stages of the race for the European Golden Shoe with nine goals in seven games for Genoa in Serie A, he has been cannoned to superstardom and linked with (take a deep breath): Napoli, Inter, Roma, Juventus, Dortmund, Bayern, Man City, Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

Sporting director Giorgio Perinetti has acknowledged that the sharks are circling but insists that Piatek is Genoa’s ‘until June’.

Here are six things to know about football’s newest striking sensation…

1. He Cost Genoa Just €4m This Summer

Yes, really.

While Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have eight goals each so far in Ligue 1 for a combined fee higher than the GDP of Malawi, Piatek, who leads the European goalscoring charts with nine in Italy’s top flight (as well as four in one game in the Coppa Italia), cost just €4m from Polish side KS Cracovia this summer.

Piatek, who found the net 21 times last season for Cracovia, was a no-brainer for Genoa president Enrico Preziosi, who according to James Horncastle for ESPN, was still having sleepless nights about passing up the chance to sign another Polish hitman by the name of Robert Lewandowski a few seasons prior.

After taking the relatively low cost gamble, recent reports claim Piatek is worth €60m for Genoa now. 

2. The ‘New Lewandowski’

Quite possibly the most obvious comparison to make but not without merit.

Both are Polish (duh) and both are predatory number nines, capable of holding up play and using strength and penalty box instincts, rather than operating from a wide or deeper position.

Speaking to the generous comparison, Piatek told SportoweFakty (via FIFA.com): “I’ve been watching Robert since I was a youth player. I tried to imitate him. He always impressed me with his back to goal.”

The two played together for the first time at international level as Poland lost 3-2 to Portugal in the UEFA Nations League on October 11, with Piatek opening the scoring. 

As far as Genoa president Preziosi is concerned: “I can’t say anything other than: Krzysztof is potentially better, a lot better.” 

Well, no pressure then.

3. Cut from Poland World Cup Squad

Despite hitting over 20 in Poland’s top tier in 2017/18, Piatek (who was included in the 35-man preliminary squad), was one of the casualties of former manager Adam Nawalka’s final cut for the World Cup in Russia, as the boss opted for more experienced options up top.

Poland scored two goals in three games, crashing out of Group H, as Colombia and Japan progressed. Perhaps they could’ve done with a little more firepower…

4. Record Breaker

Nine goals in your opening seven games in your first season in Serie A is not bad going at all, but just in case that doesn’t impress you, check out these stats:

Piatek is the first player since Christian Vieri back in 2002 to score in each of the first seven game weeks of a Serie A season.

Piatek is also the first player since Andriy Shevchenko (1999) to score in his first five Serie A appearances.

Duck, meet water.

5. He Was a ‘Bum’ at School

While top level football is clearly not a problem for Piatek, it seems school was a different story, with the striker, in his own words, finding an escape from a tough life through the beautiful game.

“I was a bum at school,” he is quoted as saying on FIFA.com. “I never liked learning and stupid ideas used to come to mind. Many people from where I grew up have been lost. They got into drugs. I managed to escape. Football helped me. I was in love with this sport.

“I will never get carried away. I have achieved nothing yet. My family and my girlfriend keep my feet on the ground. I don’t sit for six hours a day in front of a computer or console like I used to. I like to work hard, to get tired. I pay attention to diet and training. 

“A few years ago my girlfriend persuaded me to learn English, saying it would help my career. Now it is very useful.”

Learning English you say?

6. Napoli Snubbed Him Back in 2016

While they’ve since been listed among the host of potential suitors headlined by the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Napoli might’ve snapped up Piatek two years ago according to one agent.

Football Prince Management representative Francesco Spisso told Calcio Napoli 24 (via Football Italia): “Our agency turned to our associates in Poland and they gave us the chance to represent him [Piatek]. We proposed him to numerous clubs, including Napoli in Italy.

“He wasn’t very expensive and was clearly a bargain, but Italian clubs struggle to believe in such a young player. 

“There was a chat with Napoli and they never even replied. They simply didn’t take him into consideration.”

Awkward.

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Arsene Wenger Tells Bayern Munich to Remain Committed to Manager Niko Kovac

?Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has offered his support to under-fire Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac, adding that Bayern must remain patient with the new manager.

After taking charge of the side this summer, Kovac already finds himself under enormous pressure after Bayern have failed to win any of their last four games in all competitions, leaving them sixth in the Bundesliga. His tactics have been widely criticised, and the humiliating 3-0 loss to Borussia Mönchengladbach only added to the growing list of problems for Kovac to address.

FC Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Bundesliga

Speaking at Per Mertesacker’s farewell match in Hannover, Wenger was asked about his feelings towards ?Bayern‘s current situation. He is quoted by German outlet ?B?ILD as saying: “I’m surprised, like all Germans, but not worried. They always come back. Bayern had a bad phase. 

“But for me, two things are important: That they now remain stable with Kovac and that the self-confidence is rebuilt within the club. Then there will be a strong Bayern team again.

FC Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Bundesliga

“There is so much stress in this profession today that the solidarity between the trainers is very, very important. In Germany, they also have very young coaches. Trainers who have good facilities to become very great coaches. 

“That’s why it’s so important that they find support when things are not going so well.”

Finally, Wenger hinted that he may soon be ready to return to management. He said: “I’m a bad football retiree. I have not stopped working at this level for 35 years. Maybe two or three months rest is not so bad for my health. Then it starts again.”

The Frenchman is widely regarded as one of the finest managers in the world, guiding ?Arsenal to a huge amount of success during his early years with the club. His 22 years with Arsenal came to an end this summer as he stepped down and allowed Unai Emery to replace him in the dugout at the Emirates.

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