City report card: Placheta remains a project with rough edges
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Przemek Placheta was described by Daniel Farke as 'an unbelievably interesting player' when he was unveiled as Norwich City's second summer signing last year but remains a work in progress after his first full season at the club.
City dipped into an untapped market when they brought the winger over Slask Wroclaw in Poland after he impressed during the second half of the 2019/20 campaign. His performance data across that six months took a massive leap and was flagged up on the Canaries recruitment radar.
His pace was electrifying; even now they have to present his running stats on a different graph to the rest of the first-team, such is the nature of his pace.
The hope was that Farke could mould his rawness and lightning pace into someone that caused havoc in his set-up on the pitch. One that could hurt defences with his athleticism and offered a varying set of characteristics when compared to Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell.
Placheta was seen as something different to what City had in the building. A player who would add variation to Farke's options and would be able to excel in the Championship due to his pace.
The Polish winger was one of the players recruited on physical attributes as City look to implement a new profile of player into their squad.
There was always going to be a period of adaptation as a young player acclimatised to his surroundings and, inevitably, there was a step up from the Polish top flight to the Championship. Some players require more time than others to fully get to grips with their new climate.
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It was a bright start for the Pole, who featured in the opening three matches and notched his first goal as City drew 2-2 with Preston North End in September.
A hamstring injury after that Bournemouth match saw him miss the next two games before returning to the fold as a substitute in crucial wins over Birmingham City and Wycombe Wanderers.
Placheta showcased some encouraging signs in the next block of fixtures and looked to be progressing before another hit halted that form in its tracks. The flying winger recorded two assists and was beginning to look more involved before the setback.
What followed was a difficult period of the season whereby he looked short of quality and didn't seem to naturally fit into what Norwich were attempting to do. His 80 minutes at Millwall were frustrating and his cameo at Swansea a few days later was enough to convince Farke that he needed some protecting away from the matchday squads.
At present, he just doesn't seem to fit in with what Norwich are trying to do from a tactical perspective. It feels like a square peg filling a round hole. But there have been glimpses of his potential and moments of quality.
They just haven't arrived consistently enough.
Placheta could come back to Colney transformed after a confidence lifting spell with his country. He could surpass expectations and look a force in pre-season. Look at the manner in which Cantwell took it in his stride two seasons ago.
He remains a project but isn't yet refined. Positionally, he obstructed his overlapping full-back at times and made City's shape in possession lop-sided. That isn't to say he won't improve, it's more of a question of whether he will be given the chances at Norwich.
With Cantwell ahead of him and Norwich in the market for another creative option, it looks unlikely that Placheta is going to be able to force his way back into the side, at least initially.
City are open to offers for the 23-year-old, be it permanently or on loan. That isn't just reflective of Placheta's tough opening year, but also of the step-up in quality.
International exposure will help develop his game, but the style is radically different to what Farke is implementing at Carrow Road.
Sometimes a club can move up a level just too quickly for a player, that seems to be the case for Placheta at Carrow Road.