Henry Wizgier

Business as usual at Legia

Business as usual at Legia

With the re-start of the 2013-14 season approaching it has been a pretty uneventful winter break for the T-Mobile Ekstraklasa clubs and what little did happen, has involved Legia Warsaw.

First of all the club was taken over by Dariusz Mioduski, a Harvard educated businessman who by his own admission, is no Sheikh or Abramovich. He now owns 80 per cent of its shares, with club President Boguslaw Lesniodorski making up most of the rest. The message behind Mioduski’s statement in an interview with the daily paper Rzeczpospolita is presumably that, he is not going to invest heavily at a time when even the smallest modicum of success in Europe can only be achieved by doing exactly that. Yet the new owner still assures everyone that he intends to take Legia up into the 30 top clubs in Europe.

In fact the club’s most important signing during the winter break has been new coach Henning Berg the former Manchester United defender, who has taken over the reigns from Jan Urban. The latter’s dismissal was clearly brought about by his total failure in Europe and it is assumed that Berg’s impressive playing experience at the highest level, will be enough to motivate the players.

On the playing front the one important signing has been a 22-year-old Brazilian Guilherme from Braga where he never managed to break into the first team and spent most of his time in Portugal playing for Braga’s B team. But even more significant has been a transfer going the other way, that is out of the club, as usual. One of the wojskowi’s key midfielders, the highly rated Dominik Furman, has now been added to the ever-growing exodus of talented young players who formed the backbone of Legia’s title and treble cup-winning side of the last three seasons. The 22-year-old signed for French Ligue 1 s1de Toulouse for a reported €2.7 million.

The result of this January window transfer activity has once again left Legia weaker to tackle the second-half of the season, for the third year running. Because it’s hard to believe that Guilherme will cancel out the loss of Furman.

Absolutely nothing has been done to strengthen what is arguably the Lazienkowska side’s Achilles Heel – attack. A quick glance at the Ekstraklasa top goalscorers list at the winter break shows that Legia are in dire need of a striker, top scorer Vladimir Dvalishvili is joint fifth with nine goals and the only Legia player in the top 14. The club’s only other experienced striker Marek Saganowski missed most of the autumn through injury and at 35 years of age cannot be expected to deliver the goods for longer. They can get away with this weakness in the Ekstraklasa but it becomes cruelly exposed in Europe where Legia managed to score just two goals in six group-stage matches. This squad is clearly not good enough to play in next season’s European competitions and it is hoped that the overdue strengthening will occur during the summer break.

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Henry Wizgier

Henry Wizgier, PSN Columnist, is a football writer and currently a semi-retired freelance jouralist. His pre-PSN resume includes writing about football for various British and Australian newspapers and magazines.

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