NEW recruit Mateusz Klich did not know a great deal about the city of Leeds before signing for its football club.
Yet even United’s new Polish international was aware of the city’s multicultural make-up.
A dream move to England has come to a handy city for the midfielder who hopes to attract a new Polish support-base to Elland Road as he and his girlfriend get ready to live in Leeds.
Klich is three days into life at Leeds United having become the club’s first new signing of the summer on Friday morning.
The Pole had two years left on his current deal at Dutch club FC Twente but has signed a three-year contract with the Whites for a fee believed to be around £1.5m.
The former VfL Wolfsburg and FC Kaiserslautern footballer is now poised to become the first ever Polish footballer to represent Leeds in competitive games.
Tomasz Razza played for the club in a friendly against Darlington in 2004 but no Pole has represented United in league or cup.
Klich was unaware of the history he would be making upon joining the Whites and leaving present home-town Enschede for the third biggest city in England.
Yet the footballer was already aware of the Polish presence in Leeds as a whole – through which the new signing hopes he can attract even more followers down to Elland Road.
In return, the 27-year-old says he has plenty to offer at United, with the Pole determined to make the most of fulfilling a boyhood dream by becoming a professional footballer in England.
Klich told the YEP: “At the end of the last season Leeds showed some interest in me and basically I have thinking about it since then.
“I had a good season at Twente and I felt good there but the decision wasn’t really difficult because it’s the dream of every small boy in Poland and Europe to play in England.
“I wanted to come here – I remember Leeds playing in the Premier League.
“I didn’t know anything more than that because every club is so far away from home but of course I knew of the club and I knew how big the club is. I can’t wait to play.”
Informed that he would become the first Pole to properly represent the famous club, Klich smiled: “I know there is a lot of Polish people that live here so I hope they will join us at the stadium and they will come to watch games – maybe because of me. We could have more Polish fans!
“I will need to find a house but I came on Thursday for my medical and then Friday to sign so I have not had much time to see the city.
“From Monday we start training so I will come here to live in a hotel first and then I will have time to walk around.
“I am coming over here with my girlfriend and I am waiting for her. Maybe she will visit me in three weeks or something because she also has some things to do in Poland. I hope she will like it.”
Klich was certainly smitten with Leeds on his arrival at Elland Road on Friday for a move which he hopes offers welcome stability in a unpredictable career.
The footballer made 29 appearances for Twente last season – scoring six goals and creating six assists in the process – but the midfielder admits his career has not exactly been smooth sailing since leaving Polish club Cracovia for Vfl Wolfsburg as part of the club’s record sale in 2011.
The German team paid 1.5 euros for their new recruit but the Pole failed to make an appearance and soon moved on to Dutch side PEC Zwolle.
Wolfsburg then activated a repurchase option to bring the midfielder back to the club in 2014 but Klich again failed to make an appearance and moved to Kaiserslautern before switching to Twente last year.
“I have had really good times in my career and bad times also,” said Klich.
“I have moved a couple of times. I moved to Germany and it wasn’t really successful and I had to change.
“I went to Holland and back and then to Twente and I wasn’t expecting to play so good. I played really good, I had a good season and then I had an offer from Leeds. I couldn’t say no and that’s life in football – you never know.
“I think I am more experienced now. Every season I took something from each club – like from Wolfsburg and Kaiserslautern and FC Twente.
“It gives me more experience and I am getting better and better I think.
“I am in a good football age so it’s a good time to be here.”
Good times, Klich hopes, are now just around the corner at Elland Road.
The midfielder will join his new Whites team-mates as the Leeds squad returns to pre-season training today and, in particular, Klich has heard plenty about United’s 30-goal striker Chris Wood.
“I am really looking forward to playing with a striker who can score 30 goals,” admitted Klich.
“That means you can get assists as well. I can’t wait to play for the team.”
Asked if he had his own target for the season, Klich quipped: “I will not say my target, it’s not really my style.
“I will just do the best I can and we will see.
“If I score five goals and we play good it would be nice but if I score one goal and we are promoted to the Premier League it’s also good.”
Wood was part of the New Zealand side who lost 4-0 against Portugal in St Petersburg as Cristiano Ronaldo’s side secured their place in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup.
The win, however, came at a cost as Manchester City-bound midfielder Bernardo Silva substituted because of an ankle injury.
With hosts Russia losing against Mexico in Kazan, Portugal progressed as Group A winners, while the All Whites finished bottom following a third straight defeat.