A solid Empoli side have been something of a surprise package in Serie A this season and at the heart of it all has been the impressive Polish midfielder Piotr Zielinski.
This is his second season on loan at Empoli from Udinese and his current club are out-performing his parent side right now. Empoli are riding high in eighth place and could be surprise contenders for European football next season and are currently three points and three places better off than Udinese.
This is the first year that Zielinski has really established himself as a first team regular though having made only 11 starts in Serie A prior to this campaign. He has quickly become an important player for Empoli and is a key reason why they are doing so well.
Zielinski adds composure and creativity to the Empoli midfield and is very adept at picking and executing a pass from deep. He also possesses bundles of energy and the ability to make runs into the penalty area although his goal record remains fairly poor in domestic football and that is something he may look to add to his game.
Zielinski has a pass completion rate of over 80% in Serie A this season and has provided the assist for four Empoli goals. He has helped provide the service for the likes of veteran striker Massimo Maccarone whose goals have fired Empoli to a run of four wins from their last five matches.
Form not gone unnoticed
Piotr Zielinski’s form has not gone unnoticed abroad it would seem either. He started Poland’s friendly win over Iceland in November and seems certain to go to Euro 2016 and add to his 11 international caps.
Given the 21 year old is due to return to Udinese at the end of the season, his long-term club future is uncertain. Empoli would surely like to keep him but find themselves in a bit of a catch-22 situation given that the better he plays for them, the more expensive he is likely to become and the more clubs are likely to be interested in him.
The reality is Empoli are unlikely to be able to afford to sign him permanently and the competition could be fierce given that when Zielinski first emerged a couple of years ago, there was talk of bids from England with Manchester City at one point said to be considering a move for the player.
The Pole’s form in the heart of the Empoli midfield this season could make him one of the most highly sought after players of the summer transfer window particularly if he can make an impression in the European Championships.
Wise to stay put
Although with age on his side, Zielinski may be wise to stay put at Udinese where he surely is now ready for first team football and it would allow him to develop his game further.
The midfielder is still a relative novice on the big stage and needs more games and more experience before he is ready for a move to one of the continent’s bigger clubs.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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