A step above: Why Krychowiak could be a revolutionary signing for West Bromwich Albion

When the footballing fraternity was left mouths gaping at Renato Sanches’ incredible deadline day loan move to Paul Clement’s Swansea City, there was little else happening that caught the eye.

Tottenham had fought off Chelsea to close in on Fernando Llorente and the Blues had edged close to acquiring the signatures of Davide Zappacosta and Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater.

Riyad Mahrez had landed in London, Paris and Barcelona within the space of a mere day, despite the fact that nothing substantial happened for the Algerian superstar.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had tottered off to Liverpool after having rejected a move to Stamford Bridge in what was probably the most important deal late in the summer transfer window.

But as the headlines focused and continuously zeroed in on deals that were about to transpire, one deal went more under the radar than anyone would have expected.

That’s exactly where the beauty of Grzegorz Krychowiak’s character lies. No messing about, just business.

After all, that’s the kind of player the big Pole has always been. Be it at Stade de Reims or at Sevilla. It has never been pretty, but the job he does is very effectively.

What has been common throughout his career is the very fact that the job he does goes unnoticed.

And that largely is the reason why the move to the Hawthorns saw little attention come its way.

Even if it comes though, the moves that followed overshadowed all of it, and Krychowiak’s move to West Brom assumed the form of just another transfer.

The spell at Paris Saint-Germain wasn’t something anyone saw coming, especially on realising the amount that Unai Emery’s men shelled out for him.

The €33 million that were spent seemed like something that Krychowiak thoroughly deserved, keeping his outstanding showings at Sevilla in hindsight.

Emery knew him all too well from his days at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and it was his usage in midfield by the Spaniard that had made him a special player.

During his two-year stay at Sevilla, there was hardly any better player in the Andalusian’s side than Krychowiak himself; not in terms of style but in terms of contribution to the progress of the side.

This period coincided with the stays of Kevin Gameiro and Carlos Bacca at the club and it very often the case that their impressive goalscoring duo earned all the credit, taking a lot of it off Krychowiak.

It’s not as if Bacca and Gameiro were anywhere less influential, Krychowiak made the team look a lot more compact and solid.

In his first season, as Emery’s men finished fifth, Krychowiak emerged as one of the best players in the side.

The Pole played as the sole deep lying midfielder in the 4-2-3-1 formation, alongside either Vicente Iborra or Jose Reyes.

He thrived in that role, sitting in front of the back four, breaking play up and circulating the ball forward with a minimum of fuss. What was special about him was his heading ability.

That season, Krychowiak won as many as 3.7 aerial duels per game and that happens to be a beastly stat in itself.

His desire to win the back and the hunger to not let anyone past him made him a special player to have. He won 3.3 tackles per game, winning three interceptions too.

Making 31 starts that season, Krychowiak helped Emery win the Europa League and ended up finding the back of the net against Dnipro in the final. Sevilla won the game 3-2.

While it was the impressive Carlos Bacca who took away the limelight, Krychowiak stayed happy without it. Or perhaps, it was a case of being himself more than anything else.

Sevilla did finish third in their Champions League group next season, implying a direct qualification into familiar greens.

They didn’t win a single away game in the La Liga that season, finishing seventh, but Krychowiak went about his business in almost a similar vein of form as how the previous campaign had panned out.

He made 26 league appearances, winning 2.9 aerial duels per game. Not just that, but Krychowiak made 4.5 interceptions and winning 2.5 tackles per game too.

This season saw the exit of Stephane Mbia to Trabzonspor and Krychowiak had a bit of that attacking onus on his shoulders as well.

While he did sit in front of the back four and did the dirty job of cutting things off in the heart of the park, Krychowiak made those surging runs forward more often.

That didn’t take anything away from his defensive side of play as Sevilla won their third consecutive Europa League title. He racked up two assists, again playing an ever important role in sweeping things up and making the Carlos Bacca-less attack look smooth.

It was his remarkable midfield pairing with Stoke City acquisition Steven N’Zonzi that did aid the Pole as the Frenchman played a vital role in often handing the protection in the rare times when Krychowiak took up slightly advanced positions than usual.

Emery’s knowledge about the player and how well he had performed under him was one of the reasons for why he signed the midfield.

The 4-3-3 system at Paris Saint-Germain saw Emery fiddle around with the whole of the depth that he had in midfield and Krychowiak could never really settle in, despite being a wonderful player.

This move to the Premier League couldn’t have come at a better time. And while he has never played in England before, the style that the Baggies have suits someone like him perfectly.

Tony Pulis’ no-nonsense approach to the game and the emphasis on physicality has made the club a side that is often scary to play against, especially at the Hawthorns.

Their directness in their vertical approach towards scoring is something that troubles the bigger sides in the division a lot of times.

Krychowiak is the sort of ‘dirty’ player who is tailor made for a system like Pulis’.

Claudio Yacob, who joined the club from Racing Club back in 2012, plays the role of breaking things up, tackling people off the ball and circulating it forward.

It is likely that Krychowiak plays a similar role in the heart of the park and maybe even plays alongside Yacob to act as a pairing that is perfect for a Pulis system.

With Everton and West Ham faltering already this season, West Brom will be looking to fill the void left by their peers, knocking on the door of the Europa League. With Krychowiak in tow, their prospects look a lot stronger. 

The Author

Kaustubh Pandey

20, Football Writer, CalcioMercato, ThePeoplesPerson, EPLIndex, VAVEL, InsideFutbol. Aspiring Football Journalist. The game's not about life and death, it's something much more than that.

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