Krzysztof Piatek profile: Can AC Milan striker answer Tottenham’s call in Harry Kane’s absence?

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3:31 Danny Mills thinks Harry Kane could miss the entire season after Tottenham confirmed the striker will be out until at least April with a hamstring injury

Tottenham have previously coped in the past by calling on their former striker Fernando Llorente as a focal point to their attacks, or through moving Heung-Min Son to a central role.

Tottenham’s 2019/20 top goalscorers

Harry Kane – 17

Heung-Min Son – 10

Dele Alli – 7

Lucas Moura – 6

The signs are that this time, with Mourinho in charge, Spurs will seek to find a ready-made replacement for their absent talisman.

Piatek is also wanted on loan by Newcastle and Aston Villa but Milan are holding out for £30m were a permanent deal to be done.

1:49 Sky Sports News’ Aidan Magee says the long-term injury to Harry Kane represents the first test of the relationship between Jose Mourinho and Daniel Levy

Tottenham would rather wait until the summer to sign a striker to compete with Kane – but the injury to their vice-captain has changed their approach to the January window.

Spurs are currently sixth in the Premier League, six points off Chelsea in the fourth and final Champions League place, and the club must move now to give themselves the best chance of retaining their place at European football’s top table.

Who is Krzysztof Piatek?

Piatek rose to prominence in the summer of 2018 when 21 goals in 36 appearances the previous season in his native Poland with KS Cracovia earned him a Serie A move to Genoa.

Within eight games for his new club, Piatek had scored 13 goals, becoming the first player to reach the feat in Italian football since Enzo Pascutti with Bologna in 1962/63.

After reaching the same return from his opening 19 Serie A matches, AC Milan moved swiftly to replace Gonzalo Higuain with the then 23-year-old.

Having signed him as a bit of a gamble at around £5m, Genoa made a quick profit as they recouped an estimated £30.9m plus add-ons. Piatek duly signed a contract with the Rossoneri until June 2023 that is said to be worth £2m-a-year.

He has since scored 13 leagues goals in 36 appearances, but game time has become limited this season under Gennaro Gattuso, and the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic is likely to decrease this further.

What’s his playing style?

The lure of moving to the San Siro and his playing style led to parallels with Milan’s top international goal scorer, Filippo Inzaghi. Piatek has been described as a typical number nine who will occupy defenders in the penalty box with his positioning and deadly finishing.

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At 6ft, he is no slouch when it comes to height, physical strength, and tenacity in aerial duels, so in many ways he would be the perfect foil in Kane’s absence. Tottenham’s star man has evolved from a natural centre forward into a player who can drop deep to allow the likes of Dele Alli, Son and Lucas Moura to make runs in behind defences.

However, playmaking is not a natural strength for the Poland international. He cited Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry as his childhood inspirations, and Piatek’s currency is goals.

Can he replace Harry Kane?

Kane is among the top strikers in world football; with two Golden Boots and 136 goals in 198 games, he is irreplaceable. But this will be the second consecutive season that Kane will play fewer than 30 Premier League games, so is it time they consider an alternative?

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Speaking in September 2018 in the middle of that extraordinary purple patch for Genoa, Piatek indeed referenced Kane as a role model.

He said, in quotes held by Italian publication L’Ultimo Uomo: “My two favourite centre forwards are Robert Lewandowski and Harry Kane, perhaps I have characteristics more similar to those of the Englishman, made with the proper proportions”.

But Piatek has scored just one goal in open play for Milan this term. Speaking on Transfer Show, Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol said: “Things haven’t really worked out for him in Italy.

“Milan have signed Ibrahimovic, so he has been offered to quite a few clubs in England. I think Spurs could possibly do a loan deal for him.”

How would Piatek fit in Spurs’ system?

Mourinho played Son, Kane, Moura and Alli with a two-man midfield during the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea last month. But after being over-run in midfield by Frank Lampard’s side, Spurs could revert to a more pragmatic approach, starting with the visit of Liverpool this weekend, live on Sky Sports.

With Piatek on board in future games against top six sides, Mourinho could also be tempted to move towards a 4-3-3 formation with wingers – as seen during his first spell at Chelsea with Piatek through the middle.

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During his time in Genoa, Piatek played predominantly in a 3-5-2 formation as a main striker, usually on the left, supported by Christian Kouame, a pacey forward that could see Son used in a front two, but that would create a potential problem for Alli.

The Portuguese will be reluctant to tinker with the position of Alli, but a 4-3-1-2 formation, with the in-form midfielder behind Son and Piatek could be the best route going forward.

Who else could Tottenham look to fill the void?

With Kane out until April, Tottenham have been linked with several strikers in the January transfer window, with rumours set to be rife throughout the month.

Lyon forward Moussa Dembele is one player who could attract heightened interest while Danny Ings’ form with Southampton has drawn Spurs’ attention.

Ings scored the winner for Saints in their 1-0 victory over Spurs, and he has notched an impressive 13 goals in 21 games – two more than Kane this term.

Olivier Giroud is also available, and as the first-choice striker for France ahead of Euro 2020, he has not been featuring for Chelsea.

It would certainly be sensational move for the former Arsenal striker, while Spurs also tried to sign Michy Batshuayi on loan last January – but their offer was rebuffed.

Chelsea’s reluctance to do business with Spurs would make any transfer for either Giroud or Batshuayi difficult.

Analysis: ‘Spurs can cope without Kane’

0:41 Former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp says Harry Kane is ‘irreplaceable’ but that Jose Mourinho can find a way to work around his absence

Former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is doubtful whether Tottenham are capable of finding a replacement – but believes Spurs can still be a potent force.

Redknapp told Sky Sports: “Who is going to sell a centre forward of real quality at this stage of the season? I don’t see anybody – everybody is looking for a centre forward who can score goals.

“Even with Harry Kane it was always going to be a tight call on whether they qualify for the Champions League.

“They’ve tried in the past by signing the likes of [Roberto] Soldado, [Vincent] Janssen and [Fernando] Llorente – and none of them really established themselves. They found it difficult to play a bit-part.

“I don’t know where they’re going to find another number nine who is going to play on a short term for Tottenham, but they’ve still got a strong team with top quality players. Kane is irreplaceable but they’ve got other ways of playing.”

How to follow the January transfer window

Sky Sports will bring you the very latest news from the January transfer market with the return of three shows.

Start your day with Good Morning Transfers at 9am as our team of reporters bring you the latest news and insight. Transfer Talk then follows at midday delivering analysis of the biggest stories. Then join us at 7pm for the definitive round-up of the day’s news with The Transfer Show.

Meanwhile, the Transfer Talk podcast will also be back at the turn of the year with more expert analysis from here and across the continent.

And as well as tuning into Sky Sports News, don’t miss a thing with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.

Sourse: skysports.com

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