West Ham United have quite an effective midfield, with Manuel Lanzini playing in front of the ever-impressive duo of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek. However, they lack depth in their midfield and if that were not enough, Lanzini is not the best creative or goalscoring midfielder out there. They need to reinforce their midfield and Napoli’s Piotr Zielinski seems to be a great addition, with him being in his prime after playing in the Italian top flight for the past decade.
An attacking midfielder by trade, Zielinski will replace Lanzini in the starting lineup and will greatly benefit the Hammers with his creativity and positioning.
Bruno Fernandes, a goalscoring creative midfielder was quoted saying, “Technically, I can say that Zieliński is better trained than I am.”
Poland coach Sousa was also quoted saying, “Zielinski is an exceptional player. He sees everything and perfectly feels the space between his teammates and the opponent. Piotr has an amazing sense of timing and pitch geometry. He can slow down or speed up the game with one pass.” This is definitely a great testament to Zielinski’s quality.
In his previous season as Napoli, the Pole had 11 goal contributions in 35 league games. He has often been deployed as a central midfielder and owing to Rice’s increasing ability, he may be asked to play a similar role at West Ham. Lanzini and Zielinski as 2 number 8s with Rice providing cover behind them, leading to Soucek being dropped to the bench or ultimately sold to suitors, Aston Villa. In the season before that, Zielinski had 8 goals and 11 assists, ranking third on the assist charts.
He averages 14 passes into the box/90 and with the addition of a finisher like Gianluca Scamacca, those numbers can work wonders for the Hammers. Available to sign at 27 million dollars, Zielinski can prove to be a smart addition who can contribute effectively in the midfield and attack.
As a teenager, Zielinski caught the eye of Bayern Leverkusen and Liverpool and also had trials at Feyenoord and Heerenveen, but eventually joined Zaglebie Lubin at the age of 14, and started training with the senior squad the very next year. At the age of 17, he moved to Udinese and played for their youth squad for a year before making his debut in 2012, coming on to replace Antonio Di Natale.
After 4 years including 2 loan spells, he moved to Napoli in a transfer that would lead him to cement his position as a dependable midfielder. In his career at Napoli, Zielinski scored his debut goal versus Inter, scored the winner versus derby rivals US Salernitana, and eventually become the 2nd highest Polish goalscorer in Seria A history. He won the 2020 Coppa Italia and in a Europa League match versus Barcelona, it was Zielinski’s goal that led the match to be drawn 1-1.
Piotr Zielinski rose through the ranks and did not have the best of starts to his youth career, but managed to turn it around convincingly. He has got immense skill and quality and can bring the spark that West Ham need to improve on their impressive 7th place finish last season.