Bartłomiej Drągowski looks like the next top keeper off the Polish production line – UEFA.com finds out more about an 18-year-old already reportedly tracked by Chelsea and Juventus.
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Poland has produced more than its fair share of top-quality goalkeepers over the years and, judging by the number of scouts tracking Jagiellonia Białystok's Bartłomiej Drągowski, there could be another in the making. Drągowski may be only 18, but already he has captured the hearts of many Ekstraklasa followers. He was named best goalkeeper, discovery of the season and third best player for the 2014/15 campaign – his first at professional level.
Name: Bartłomiej Drągowski
Club: Jagiellonia Białystok
Debut: 27 May 2014 v Korona Kielce (Polish First Division)
Date of birth: 19 August 1997
They say …
"Can Drągowski be the second [Jan] Tomaszewski? Of course he can! He has great potential and I hope he will be a great goalkeeper. In some regards he is better than me at his age. I think it would be a good idea to call him up to the national team so he can experience the atmosphere and see close up how [Łukasz] Fabiański, and [Artur] Boruc work."
Former Poland goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski
"If Jagiellonia sell him some day, I hope they will make at least €5m."
Michał Probierz, Jagiellonia coach
Born in Bialystok, he is the son of former midfielder Dariusz Drągowski, who played for Jagiellonia and Siarka Tarnobrzeg. Drągowski Jr made his debut aged 16 in a remarkable 4-4 draw with Korona Kielce in May 2014, and was first choice by the time he signed his first – four-year – senior contract.
Playing style …
He is the epitome of calm and shows an impressive ability not to panic even in the most difficult situations. The teenager also has an excellent capacity to read the game and an uncanny knack of positioning himself perfectly.
Shades of …
Drągowski has a fairly distinctive style but comparisons can be drawn to Wojciech Szczęsny, currently on loan at Roma from Arsenal. He certainly possesses a similarly extensive reach.
Eureka moment …
Drągowski's breakthrough came against Śląsk Wrocław in August 2014. Though he started on the bench, he was forced into action following Jakub Słowik's red card and subsequently pulled off a string of eye-catching saves. He has scarcely looked back since.
Best-case scenario …
Competition for a place in the senior international set-up is fierce, with Fabiański, Szczęsny and Boruc all pushing hard, but many observers feel the future is Drągowski's. He is seven years younger than Szczęsny – the most junior of the senior trio – and must surely be destined to muscle in sooner or later.
He says …
"Many people tell me I am talented, but I have something programmed inside me which means I do not listen. I don't want to hear these complimentary words because there were many talented players who quickly disappeared. I do not want to be the next."