Zbyszek, our man in Poland, was surprised when Celtic signed Patryk Klimala from Jagiellonia Bialystok. It is fair to say the subsequent lack of impact and opportunities bore out what he told me at the time.
Patryk arrived the month after we played a League Cup Final without a striker fit enough to start the game. Lewis Morgan, a lighter-than-air winger, played the striker role until Odsonne Edouard’s arrival in the second half. With the league title in the balance in January 2020, there would have been an over-eagerness to get a deal, any deal, over the line. Which is why Patryk, hitherto plying his trade 33 miles from the Belarus border, came to work in Glasgow.
You and I have not seen enough about Patryk to proffer an informed opinion, his appearances have been fleeting, although there were signs of encouragement, in particular against Lille. The most relevant fact is that he was unable to acquire a place in an underachieving Celtic team. Getting our £3.5m investment back feels like an unlikely win.
Perhaps the most curious aspect of his transfer, due to complete shortly, is the buying club. New York Red Bulls, the North American outpost of one of European football’s most data-driven club owners. You can be sure Patryk featured heavily in key metric reports during his development years. If Red Bull are buying, the data will suggest there is a player there; the same data almost certainly took him to Glasgow in the first place.
Separating data from noise is an analytical problem that cuts across disciplines. It will be interesting to watch what happens to Patryk over the next few years, is he a data find or background noise?