Who is Krzysztof Piatek? The Barcelona-linked scoring sensation labelled the 'new Lewandowski'

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The 23-year-old striker has hit seven goals in his first three outings for Genoa, resulting in a Poland call-up and interest from Europe's elite

Krzysztof Piatek put Davide Ballardini in an awkward position by taking just six minutes to register his first Serie A goal.

"I’m almost afraid to talk about Piatek," the Genoa coach confessed after the season-opening win over Empoli last month, "because it’s just inviting pressure on him.

"But he really seems to be the complete package. I get the feeling he can truly become an important player.

"But I’m trying to whisper it rather than shout from the rooftops."

Ballardini's caution is understandable but futile. The word is already out: Piatek has the makings of a world-class forward.

Indeed, Genoa president Enrico Preziosi has already had to tell Napoli that they have no chance of signing the Polish striker, who is also being linked with Barcelona.

Such transfer talk represents a remarkable and rapid rise to prominence for the 23-year-old, who arrived in Italy as a virtual unknown and has made just three appearances since joining the Rossoblu from Cracovia for €4.5 million. 

However, Piatek has already struck a staggering seven times for his new club.

He announced himself in sensational fashion, netting just 70 seconds into his Genoa debut, against Lecce in the Coppa Italia, before going on score a further three goals before the break.

In doing so, he immediately entered the history books, by becoming the first man to ever score four times in his first outing for the club.

Kyzysztof Piatek Ballardini PS

After opening his Serie A account against Empoli, he netted twice more in the 5-3 loss at Sassuolo just before the international break, earning him a first call-up by the Polish national team.

He remained on the bench for the UEFA Nations League clash with Italy in Bologna but was entrusted with a starting role against the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday.

Piatak failed to find the net in the 1-1 draw in Wroclaw but that hasn't dampened any of the enthusiasm surrounding a forward already being touted as 'the new Robert Lewandowski'. 

Such comparisons are ridiculously premature, of course, with even Preziosi conceding that while Piatek is already "an important player for Genoa, he still has to prove his worth". 

Tellingly, though, Preziosi is already confident of making a tidy profit on a player that nobody at Genoa had watched in the flesh before he signed for the club.

“I went for him after I watched a couple of videos of him,” the Grifone supremo told Corriere dello Sport .

“I saw him in a couple of clips and the day after I did, I finalised a deal for him, fearing someone else would take him.

“I paid €4.5m for him but you’ll see how much he’ll be worth in a couple of years."

Whether he will continue to progress at such an incredible rate remains to be seen but, for now, at least, he certainly looks like a bargain buy. 

As he has already shown, he has a nice turn of pace, a good first touch, is willing to run at defenders, can score off either foot, is strong in the air and, most importantly of all for a striker, is calm in front of goal.

Piatek Genoa Lecce Coppa Italia

There was a hint of nonchalance about the way in which he slotted home Domenico Crisicito's cross against Empoli, while it was hard not to be impressed by his technique as he coolly controlled the ball on his chest before firing in his second goal against Sassuolo.

This is a man clearly brimming with confidence at the moment - and why not? 

He is in the form of his life and playing before an adoring Genoa crowd searching for a shred of comfort in an otherwise dark period for a city devastated by the Morandi bridge collapse on August 14.

The supporters have already taken him to their hearts and he is feeding off their positivity.

"The fans are fantastic," he told the Gazzetta dello Sport . "With the people so close to the pitch, there is a resounding noise.

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"I have got off to a strong start and that’s because the ball comes looking for me."

If he maintains his current form, Europe's elite will also come looking for him too.

Ballardini's whispers are already been drowned out by the clamour of the crowd at the Luigi Ferraris.

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