Why Marc Janko is not the answer to Porto's goalscoring problems

The Austrian hitman arrived in Portugal will the billing of a star goal-poacher but he may struggle to make his mark with the Europa League holders after a €3 million move
COMMENT
By Luis Mira | Portuguese Football Editor

After six months, Porto finally did what everyone had long expected them to do: sign a new striker. The €40 million sale of Radamel Falcao to Atletico Madrid in the summer had created a void which Kleber could never fill and the club's inability to act in the transfer market had taken its toll on the squad as they crashed out of the Champions League in the group stage, while they risk losing the Portuguese Liga title to Benfica.

With Walter being shipped out on loan to Cruzeiro and Kleber, the squad's only striker, failing to convince both the coach and the fans, Porto were forced to act and signed 1.96 metres-tall (6'5") striker Marc Janko from Twente in a €3 million deal on the last days of the transfer window. The Portuguese champions were linked with Colombian pair Jackson Martinez and Teofilo Gutierrez, but their budget only extended far enough to prise the Austria international away from his employers.

JANKO'S RECENT CAREER STATS
Season
2011-12

2010-11

2009-10

2008-09
Games
25

40

27

36
Goals
16

17

13

41
Signed in 2010 for a reported €6m, Janko arrived at Twente as a proven goalscorer after impressing during his five-year stint at Red Bull Salzburg. And if things went his way at first, even scoring the winning goal in the KNVB Beker final against Ajax, Janko failed to impress new coach Steve McClaren and had to settle for a place on the bench towards the end of 2011.

Over the years, Janko has affirmed himself as one of the most clinical strikers in Europe because of his strong physique, acute positioning and good aerial play.

However, his lack of technique and creativity saw him struggle to take part in Twente's quick attacking combinations as Eredivisie strikers are expected to help create chances in addition to scoring goals.

At the Estadio do Dragao, the powerful Austrian may find the exact same problems: as a pure target man, Janko requires a lot of service from the wings but the only Porto player specialised in crossing is left-back Alvaro Pereira.

Despite using a 4-3-3 system, the two wide men (generally Hulk and James Rodriguez) prefer to cut inside and pick out short passes near the area, rather than staying on the flanks aiming crosses at the 18-yard box. In fact, since the days of Mario Jardel, who netted 148 goals between 1996 and 2000, Porto have always relied on mobile strikers, who can take part in quick transitions and are able to add more to the team than simply firepower.


Janko's ability to fit into Porto's system will now be put to the test, but he seems to be a band-aid when what the club really needs are stitches

With just 13 matches left to play in the Portuguese Liga and Porto five points behind Benfica, pressure is mounting on Janko to quickly show the same level of form which saw him shine in the Austrian Bundesliga. Nonetheless, his low transfer fee and the fact that he is cup-tied for the Europa League make it look like he was simply a last-minute option as the club failed to land any of their primary targets.

The 28-year-old's ability to fit into Porto's system will now be put to the test, but he seems to be a band-aid when what the club really need are stitches to help fix their chronic attacking problems.

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