Fussball, Herren, Saison 2022/2023, 1. Bundesliga, Hertha BSC, Training im Olympiastadion, Krzysztof Piatek Hertha BSC, 11.08. 2022, *** Football, men, season 2022 2023, 1 Bundesliga, Hertha BSC, training at the Olympic Stadium, Krzysztof Piatek Hertha BSC , 11 08 2022, Copyright: xSebastianxRäppold/MatthiasxKochx

The last question for the coach was about Krzysztof Piatek. And maybe it really was the very last question that Sandro Schwarz, the coach of Hertha BSC, was ever asked about him. His answer was not particularly fruitful. You know the situation; look what will happen until September 1st. “We’ll see about everything else then.”

The personal details of Krzysztof Piatek have long been vague and approximate at the Berlin Bundesliga club Hertha BSC. The 27-year-old is still there, but not really anymore. This season, the Pole was only once in the squad – in the cup defeat against Eintracht Braunschweig. Piatek is neither a regular nor a substitute. He is exclusively: change candidate.

The striker has never been really happy in Berlin since he came from AC Milan in January 2020 for 24 million euros. The driving force behind this transfer was the then coach Jürgen Klinsmann with his “think big” dreams of the future world club Hertha. “Great opportunity for added value,” he attested to Piatek in his leaked squad analysis for investor Lars Windhorst.

The opposite was the case: Piatek cost Hertha a lot of money, not only because of his handsome transfer fee, but above all because of his handsome salary. He is said to earn 4.5 million euros a year with a contract until 2025.

No wonder Hertha is desperately looking for a buyer for him.

Piatek already played on loan for AC Florence in the second half of last season. And the trail is currently pointing back to Italy. After the options of Borussia Dortmund (as a replacement for Sébastien Haller) and FC Copenhagen fell through, the interest of US Salernitana, the club of former Munich player Franck Ribéry, became known shortly before the end of the transfer window.

The Polish national striker apparently still enjoys a good reputation in Italy. Salernitana, currently eleventh in the table, would be Piatek’s fourth club in Serie A after CFC Genoa, Milan and Florence. A loan until the end of the season with a subsequent purchase option is under discussion.

The modalities are the same as for Fiorentina. Piatek got off to a good start there, propelling the club into the Coppa Italia semi-finals and scoring six goals in their first nine competitive games. However, after no further matches had been added in the remaining nine matches up to the end of the season, Florence decided not to make a permanent commitment.

Even at Hertha they no longer have any real use for Piatek. The Pole is a pure penalty area striker with an outstanding finish. But in order to really use this ability, he must also be placed in the right position. Hertha rarely managed to do that. Piatek is also only suitable to a limited extent for football, which coach Schwarz has in mind.

The centre-forward has scored 13 goals in 58 competitive games for Hertha, his first and perhaps last ever last October in the 2-0 win over SC Freiburg. In December, in the 4-0 defeat in Mainz, he was last used for the Berliners, shortly before that, in the derby in the Alte Försterei, he was still in the starting XI.

Piatek’s move to Salernitana Hertha would not bring great added value – but at least a significant salary saving. The club’s original plan was to sign another striker after his departure. The question now is: Is there enough time for this? It’s all over on Thursday at 6 p.m.