Scout report: Grzegorz Krychowiak - the Sevilla man wanted by PSG and Arsenal
Grzegorz Krychowiak is one of the most sought after footballers in the last couple of years. After the end of the 2014-15 season, Grzegorz was scouted by both FC Barcelona and Manchester United and now after completing two seasons at Spanish club Sevilla FC, he is almost certain to walk away from the club to join Arsenal FC or French champions Paris Saint-Germain with PSG being the front runners after the appointment of Unai Emery as manager. The Polish midfielder will be looking to decide his future after Poland were eliminated from Euro 2016.
Krychowiak was born in Polish town Gryfice on 29 January 1990 and the 26-year-old Defensive Midfielder’s footballing journey started at French Club Bordeaux. He did not get much game time there and was loaned out for two seasons to then Third division French club Stade de Reims in 2009.
After Reims, he was loaned out to Nantes for one season, before finally signing a three- year contract with Reims,a newly promoted Ligue 1 side then. After spending two seasons at the club he joined La Liga club Sevilla FC for €4.5 million in July 2014 and his meteoric rise as a defensive midfielder started since then.
The Polish international has been an ever-present member at the heart of the Sevilla midfield over the last couple of seasons. His physicality and ball-winning qualities give him an edge over other defensive midfielders. In the 2015-16 La Liga season, Grzegorz had 4.5 interceptions per game – the highest average by any player in the Spanish top division. He won 64 tackles over 26 appearances last season with an impressive tackle winning percentage of 83. He also made 96 interceptions in 32 games in the 2014-15 league season,the second highest for a midfielder in the League. The stats clearly show that he has done his job of blunting opposition attacks successfully.
Another big advantage of having the Sevilla midfielder in the team is his height in defending set pieces. In the 2014-15 season, he won 97 aerial duels with a duel winning percentage of 71%, the highest percentage in the League and Europa League and in the 2015-16 season he won 70% of his aerial duels. His passing is often overlooked because of his physical style of football but he is no slouch when it comes to spreading the play. His passing accuracy over the last two seasons has been 83, clearly very impressive for a player known more for his dirty work. His on the ball prowess can be proven from the fact that he was dispossessed of the ball just 13 times in the last Liga season.
Krychowiak’s success rate in tackles and interceptions clearly prove that he is a brilliant reader of the game. For a guy who goes into so many tackles, he has got very few yellow cards to his name last season. Disciplinary concerns were there before, but now he has matured into a calming influence on the team. He has got the personality of a leader too which is important.
He has had some brilliant matches over the last two years. One of his most notable performances came in the 2016 Europa League final against Liverpool. He man-marked playmaker Philippe Coutinho out of the game which was crucial in Sevilla's spectacular 3-1 comeback win to clinch the trophy versus the English giants. Even in the 2015 Europa final, Krychowiak scored the first goal in Sevilla's 3-2 victory over Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, in front of his home crowd in Poland's capital Warsaw. Krychowiak's volley from outside the box in the last group game of 2016 Euro qualifying round versus Ireland secured Poland's place in the 2016 Euro.
The only facet of Krychowiak’s game that needs improving is his attacking threat. Although it is not the main part of his job, he would like to add a few more goals to his game. Not only goals, his passing range from deep to create flowing attacks needs strengthening. Over the last two seasons, he has provided 10 key passes,scored two goals and provided a solitary assist. That is the only chink in his armour and he will be looking to address it soon.
To sum it up, Grzegorz Krychowiak’s rise has been nothing short of spectacular over the past couple of years. He is now a regular member of the Polish National Team for quite some time and he has played an instrumental role in them reaching the quarter-finals in the ongoing European Cup too. He deservedly made it to the 2014-15 La Liga team of the season ahead of the brilliant Sergio Busquets and he's a part of the UEFA Europa League squad of the season for two consecutive seasons where he helped Sevilla to back to back silverware.
Now that he is almost set to leave Sevilla to go to one of the top clubs in Europe, it will be an understatement to say that any club he goes to will be lucky to have him.
(Stats source: Squawka)