A bitter conclusion to last season prompted Chennaiyin FC to overhaul their squad and they started with parting ways with all their foreigners bar Rafael Crivellaro. They have signed six Indian players so far, most of them being defensive reinforcements. Four foreign signings have also been completed with the latest being Lukasz Gikiewicz. The Polish striker was announced by Chennaiyin on Saturday, and in this article, IFTWC tries to understand whether Lukasz Gikiewicz is the right signing for Chennaiyin FC.
Bandovic, in his last season as manager of Buriram United FC, had established a playstyle of 5-3-2 with two players up front. Till now, most of Chennaiyin’s signings have been influenced by the coach’s tactics. Slavko Damjanovic, Ariel Borysiuk, and Mirlan Murzaev were signed keeping in mind the coach’s style of play. Similarly, Gikiewicz’s signing was also made in accordance with the coach’s tactics, and he can be someone who can easily fit into Bosko’s system.
A perfect No 9, Gikiewicz is an omnipresent force in the box. He also likes to play in deeper areas and show off his creativity. When Bosko plays two strikers upfront, his ability to drop down and create will be extremely important. A striker’s ability to be present at the right time and place when dead ball situations occur is very important and Gikiewicz excels in it. Lukasz additionally also has Asian experience playing for clubs like Al Faisaly and Al Wahda in the Gulf region. He also helped Al Faisaly to win their first Jordanian league title since 2012 and was the top scorer of the Jordanian Pro League in 2017-18.
He also played for Ratchaburi and Police Tero, both in the Thai league- a league well known to coach Bosko, thus contributing to Chennaiying’s decision to sign the 33-year-old over other options. Gikiewicz also has experience playing in the Europa League, where he competed against clubs like Tottenham Hotspurs and Zenit. Gikiewicz is a fine finisher and doesn’t shy away from taking shots from distance. He played for Bahrain’s East Riffa Club last season and scored five goals in 17 games. Rafał Gikiewicz, his brother is a goalkeeper who plays for Bundesliga club FC Augsburg.
However before Gikiewicz takes the field for Chennaiyin in the coming season, questions will inevitably arise regarding his ability. The Polish man has played for 13 clubs in the last 8 years, a number that surely will worry Chennaiyin fans. After playing for several Polish teams, Lukasz decided to take his career abroad in 2013. The forward joined Cyprus-based club Omonia, where he amassed eight goals in 24 appearances.
The very next year, Gikiewicz decided to move to Asia. He joined Kazakhstan-based club Tobol and endured a hard time scoring zero goals in twelve games. He was rescued from his miserable stint in Kazakhstan when he received an offer from AEL Limassol, thus getting a chance to show his abilities in the European stages since the club was participating in the Europa League.
Nevertheless, Gikiewicz was soon out of favor in Limassol and, after a very short time, he changed clubs once again, this time to Bulgaria. Even in Bulgaria, he was unable to settle in and switched clubs only six months after joining. Saudi Arabia was his next destination, but, once again, he was left infuriated by the problems he had with Gulf giants Al Wahda. Gikiewicz failed to score even once in eight appearances for the club, which led to their decision to part ways with him.
He finally managed to acquire a good stint for his CV, which was in Thailand. He had a good season with Ratchaburi, but his career instability continued, and he switched clubs again, this time joining fellow league club Police Tero. He scored four goals and made two assists. Following a successful stint in Thailand, Gikiewicz was offered a position with Asian club Al Faisaly in Jordan and played in both the AFC Cup and AFC Champions League. During his 11 games, he scored five goals, helping Al-Faisaly win their first championship in six years.
The 33-year old played for Hajer and Romanian club FCSB before switching clubs once again in 2020 joining Bahrainian club East Riffa before signing with Chennaiyin FC. Over the past few years, he has traveled far more than he has played, and this time around with Chennaiyin FC, he will hope to achieve some career stability. Only time will tell whether Lukasz Gikiewicz manages to repay the faith that Chennayin has put in him.
The Chennaiyin FC team last season suffered at the top with Isma and Jakub Sylvester not making much of an impact. While Chennaiyin created many chances, their forwards were ineffective and failed to yield desired results. Chennaiyin hopes to improve this time around, thanks to the signings of Lukasz Gikiewecz and Mirlan Murzaev. The club has managed to land two quality forwards without breaking the bank. To complement Gikiewicz, another center-forward is also expected to be signed by the Southern club.
Follow our website for more updates on Indian football.