Premier League

Grzegorz Krychowiak – West Brom’s Hidden Gem

 • by Dan Ludlam
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There are many key traits that make up the DNA of a top-class midfield player.

The ability to work tirelessly from box-to-box, playing incisive defence-splitting passes and chipping in on the goals front are just some that shape the dynamics of a modern-day midfielder.

The onus is now on them to become a master at all of these arts in the ever-changing face of the modern game.

When West Bromwich Albion pounced to land Paris Saint-Germain’s out-of-favour Polish star Grzegorz Krychowiak on loan in the summer, it was greeted with a stunned silence from all in the Midlands.

Remarkably, it emerged that the Baggies were the only club to initiate talks with the 27-year-old, once it became clear that his time in the French capital looked to be grinding to a halt.

A star at Euro 2016, Krychowiak has developed into a top-notch modern day midfielder and Tony Pulis is reaping the rewards of West Brom’s slick and assured transfer business.

Confident in possession and courageous in the tackle, the midfield enforcer is just what every Premier League club requires in order to progress to the next step.

In a drab uneventful affair with West Ham last Saturday, Krychowiak was the one shining light to emerge from an otherwise forgetful encounter at The Hawthorns.

From minute one the Polish star was able to stamp his authority on the game, snapping into tackles and working hard out of possession to ensure the Baggies remained on the front foot.

But there’s more to Krychowiak than perhaps first meets the eye.

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Willing to drop the lure of Champions League football and glamour of playing for a club like Paris Saint-Germain can say a lot about a player.

And as soon as West Brom’s interest became common knowledge it seemed the 27-year-old had no other thoughts in his mind than resurrecting his stuttering career in the west Midlands.

Pulis’ astute managerial style will certainly have an influence on Krychowiak during his short spell in the Black Country. But perhaps the biggest surprise is that England’s elite clubs failed to act.

The PSG midfielder was outstanding against the Hammers, disrupting opponents and protecting Albion’s back four, in what was only his third league game of the year after being frozen out in France.

Signed by the French giants from Sevilla for £28m last summer, he is clearly in the shop window for the season with the Baggies agreeing to pay all of his hefty £110,000-a-week wages.

West Ham boss Slaven Bilić even admitted to snubbing a proposed move to sign Krychowiak but, on the evidence so far, it will be the Premier League’s top six that regret overlooking the Polish star.

“I thought Grzegorz was very good,” Pulis admitted.

“I spoke to him after the game and he still feels that he is not sharp and he is not as strong as he would like to be.

“That’s two games he has played and he didn’t play any games in pre-season. He is going to be a really good player for us.”

Pulis’ desire is to unleash Krychowiak as an attacking force once the Poland international has fully acclimatised to his new surroundings.

The 27-year-old partnered Gareth Barry in central midfield against the Hammers last Saturday, with the pair protecting the Albion back four with aplomb.

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“That is what we want and if you speak to him I think that is what he wants as well. He wants that freedom to get forward,” Pulis added.

“He’s got everything and he is a strong lad.

“We are pleased that we have got him, now what we have to do make sure that we look after him and get him to that level of fitness that will help the team. I think he’ll be a top player for us.”

Krychowiak’s stay in the west Midlands may only be temporary but Baggies fans must go along with the ride.

The Polish star possess the sort of quality that a top six side wouldn’t contemplate snapping up and the most amazing part of this whole saga, is that not one showed an ounce of interest.

Pulis and West Brom will provide the PSG midfielder with the perfect platform to showcase his talents and build his way back up to the top of the game.

And it would be of no great surprise should one of the Premier League’s top six re-evaluate their transfer plans next summer and launch an assured bid to prolong Krychowiak’s stay in England.

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