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Reading FC failed to get what Derby County did out of prolific £300k striker

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Summer 2004: Greece has astonished the world by winning the European Championship, Milan Baros is playing at an incredible level, and Ukraine has just won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever. Seems to be a summer to remember.

However, Derby County was hard at work in search of a reliable goal scorer who might lead them to victory in the upcoming campaign, and they finally got one in September in the shape of Grzegorz Rasiak. This was during the time of the significant events on the continent.

During his one season with the Rams, the Polish international scored goals on a regular basis after waltzing into the Pride Park dressing room and getting to work for George Burley’s team.

Following many moves with differing degrees of success around the Premier League and EFL, the forward ended his time in England with a lackluster 2009–10 season with Reading.

Derby County benefited from Grzegorz Rasiak’s administrative blunder.

In the early stages of his career, Rasiak had established himself in his own country thanks to a goal-filled stint with the intriguingly called Dyskobolia Grodzisk Wielkopolski, which began to draw interest from clubs all across the continent.

His first suitor was the Italian team Siena, but due to a quota in Serie A, they were unable to sign any more international players. As a result, the Pole was free to choose another club, much to Rams manager Burley’s satisfaction.

Grzegorz Rasiak 1920-1

“We’ve been lacking a big player up front and he has excellent pedigree,” he stated at the time. He was playing European football with his previous club and is an international.

It is a coup for us to sign a player of that caliber for free.

Undoubtedly, he proved his worth in the second division with 17 goals in his debut season of English football. He opened the scoring with a late equalizer in a 2-2 draw with Watford.

The striker frequently took advantage of his great height. Against Rotherham United, for example, a powerful header started a comeback from two goals down to win 3-2. Against Brighton and Hove Albion, he scored twice more with another impressive display of his bonce.

A teenage Tom Huddlestone made his midfield debut behind them, while the likes of Inigo Idiakez, Paul Peschisolido, and Marcus Tudgay played alongside him, making this a somewhat prestigious County team.

Rasiak benefited greatly from this attacking fluidity during the season, scoring nearly at will at times and further solidifying his reputation with a brace against West Ham United.

With his two spectacular performances in two of the greatest games of that season—both victories over fierce rivals Nottingham Forest, which gave County fans bragging rights—the forward instantly became ingrained in the collective consciousness of the supporters.

Grzegorz Rasiak’s EFL Career In Numbers
Appearances Starts Goals Assists
Derby County 35 35 16 5
Southampton 84 64 30 7
Watford 21 12 8 4
Reading 30 14 9 0
Source: FBRef

Rasiak was in high demand during the summer after the play-off loss to Preston North End cost them promotion. Tottenham Hotspur ultimately prevailed in the race to get him, but despite his rumored £2.25 million move, things didn’t work out for him at White Hart Lane.

The forward had little time to establish his skills, so he was sent on loan to Southampton after just six months. After returning to the EFL, he made the transfer to St Marys permanent and picked up where he left off.

It appeared like Rasiak would continue to thrive in the Championship with another season of 20 goals or more under his belt. However, he fell out of favor with the Saints and went on loan to Watford and Bolton Wanderers before leaving for Reading.

Grzegorz Rasiak’s failed attempt at career resurgence with Reading FC

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Having spent £300,000 on Rasiak, the Royals were the only team standing in the English game. In just five years, Rasiak had gone from being one of the nation’s most attractive attackers to a guy no one could find a way to play.

The Berkshire team was hoping to improve in the 2009–10 season after losing in the play-offs the previous year. However, they struggled to duplicate the previous season’s success due to problems in the striking department, with Rasiak being one of the main culprits for a subpar performance.

There were glimmers of the skill that had won him a transfer to the Premier League; at the Madejski Stadium, a clean finish against his old team Watford got him going, and a brace against Coventry City was the high point of that specific campaign.

Ahead of the summer transfer window, FLW’s Reading fan pundit has talked on Lewis Wing’s future.

Brian McDermott would not have expected the renowned striker to return with nine goals from 33 league appearances; all that is necessary to understand is that only one of his final seven club outings wasn’t off the bench.

Shane Long, Brian Howard, and Jimmy Kebe, among others, were all big players for the Royals, so a misfiring striker wasn’t going to knock them out of the starting lineup. Rasiak decided to look into other options further outfield the next season.

After playing for AEL Limassol in Cyprus, he returned home to play for Jagiellonia Białystok, Lechia Gdansk, and Warta Poznan.

Whether you’re an EFL goal machine or a stuttering striker who fell short of expectations, Grzegorz Rasiak will conjure up different memories depending on which club you support.

But the Rams will never forget his incredible debut season in English football, where they were fortunate enough to benefit from an administrative blunder that allowed him to dominate the league.

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