As the various clubs around Europe make their final preparations for the new season a series of Polish goalkeepers are settling in pastures new, with Jerzy Dudek's move to Real Madrid CF the most high profile, but by no means the only significant, transfer of the summer.
Legia Warszawa's promising goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański was the first to make a notable switch this summer, following his 17-year-old compatriot Wojciech Szczesny in leaving Legia to join Arsenal FC, with Szczesny having made the move to north London in March 2006. The 22-year-old Fabiański was reported to have cost the English giants €3.5m, then a record transfer fee received by a Polish club, although Dawid Janczyk's move to PFC CSKA Moskva subsequently surpassed that.
Two more Polish goalkeepers were quickly on their way to the British Isles, Łukasz Załuska swapping Korona Kielce for the Scottish Premier League and Dundee United FC. However, the 25-year-old broke a bone in his foot late last month, ruling him out for six weeks, and in his absence Dundee United signed Grzegorz Szamotulski from SK Sturm Graz on a six-month contract. The 31-year-old Polish international made a fine debut, saving Thierry Henry's penalty on debut in a friendly against FC Barcelona – although his celebrations were cut short as the Frenchman turned in the rebound.
Big clubs swoop
July began with Arkadiusz Malarz – who helped Skoda Xanthi FC concede only 22 goals in the Greek top flight in 2006/07, kept seven consecutive clean sheets and went 683 minutes without being beaten – winning a transfer to Panathinaikos FC, where he will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of Józef Wandzik, who won three league titles and three Greek Cups with the Greens. Eighteen-year-old Michał Miśkiewicz then swapped second division LKS Kmita Zabierzów for UEFA Champions League winners AC Milan, where he has signed an initial one-year contract, while Under-21 international Przemysław Tytoń has left Górnik Łęczna to sign a five-year deal with Dutch Eredivisie outfit Roda JC.
It was Dudek's free transfer to Madrid that occupied most of the headlines, however, with the 34-year-old determined to challenge Iker Casillas for the No1 shirt despite many predicting a season on the bench. "No player who has ambition will tell you that he is satisfied sitting on the bench," said Dudek. "It will be an interesting competition between me and Casillas and I cannot wait." His anticipation will be shared by his compatriots, and by Polish goalkeepers across the continent.
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