Leicester sign Kapustka: Will Poland’s teenage talent buck Premier League trend?


Lee Gormley | August 3, 2016

Leicester sign Kapustka

Reigning Premier League champions Leicester City have completed the transfer of Poland international winger Bartosz Kapustka from Cracovia on a five-year deal, with the 19-year-old costing the Foxes a reported £7.5m.

Leicester sign Kapustka amid speculation surrounding star man and 2016 PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez, with the Algerian ace having been linked heavily with a high-profile switch to top-flight rivals Arsenal this summer after his heroics last term.

Ranieri has already significantly bolstered his squad so far in this transfer window, with Kapustka becoming his fifth capture in recent weeks, joining all of Ron-Robert Zieler, Luis Hernandez, Nampalys Mendy and Ahmed Musa at the King Power Stadium.

Kapustka is set to be a valuable member of the Foxes outfit chasing further success, but the talented wideman arrives as the Premier League’s 15th ever Polish representative and will look to buck a trend which has seen players from his homeland exit England swiftly.

With former Polish stars of the top-flight having endured quick exits from the top tier, can Leicester’s new starlet overturn that run and enjoy success?

Polish players tend to depart early

After rallying to a historic title triumph last season, having began the campaign at 5000/1 to do so, Leicester enter proceedings this time around at 28/1 with Coral to retain their crown in 2016/17.

Promising new acquisition Kapustka could yet prove to be an integral part of Ranieri’s side, but his arrival comes after 14 previous Poles have endured mixed fortunes in the top-flight.

Looking back through recent seasons, it’s Polish goalkeepers that have tended to enjoy longer stints in the Premier League, with former Bournemouth and Southampton stopper Artur Boruc staying put for a combined three terms.

Former Liverpool stalwart Jerzy Dudek also spent six years at Anfield, with Lukasz Fabianski having been on Arsenal’s books for four before switching to current employers Swansea City in 2012, while Tomasz Kuszczak and Wojciech Szczęsny are two others.

Although, no Polish outfield player has spent more than two seasons in England’s top division, but Leicester centre back Marcin Wasilewski will soon be entering his third campaign at the King Power. Aged 36 now, he is on the periphery of Foxes first-team football.

Can Kapustka buck the trend?

Other former Polish representatives to have remained for two seasons include Dariusz Kubicki (Aston Villa, Sunderland), Grzegorz Rasiak (Tottenham, Bolton Wanderers) and Robert Warzycha (Everton).

There have been plenty of previous one-season wonders too, including all of Jaroslaw Fojut (Bolton), Zbigniew Kruszynski (Coventry City), Emmanuel Olisadebe (Portsmouth), Ebi Smolarek (Bolton) and Piotr Swierczewski (Birmingham City).

Leicester’s latest capture Kapustka will therefore hope to avoid falling into this long list of Polish misfits, and he looks likely of enjoying prolonged success at his new club after impressive summer showings in France.

The talented teenager was involved in four of his nation’s five games at Euro 2016 across the Channel, and proved one of their star performers as they finished second in Group C and reached the quarter-final stage.

Youngster looks set for bright Foxes future

In the last eight on French soil, Kapustka was thrust into proceedings in the dying minutes of extra-time, with he and his teammates ultimately exiting via a penalty shoot-out at the hands of the eventual champions.

Last season, before taking to the Euros, the tricky wideman managed to strike four times for Cracovia and once for his country in qualifying for France across 34 appearances in all competitions.

Overall Kaputska made 63 appearances for the Polish club, scoring eight goals, and his dazzling displays saw him earn a maiden Poland cap only last November against Gibraltar, a game in which he scored.

The youngster also arrives with a feisty reputation, having picked up 10 yellow cards last term, including three at Euro 2016 against Northern Ireland, Ukraine and Portugal.

It was in that narrow opening group victory over Northern Ireland that Kapustka truly shone, showcasing his astute attacking abilities, and the Polish starlet will hope to enjoy similar success in the Premier League after signing with Ranieri’s defending champions.


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