By Jorge Gonzales
Photo courtesy of Cisco's Art
In October 2022, Sporting Director Zoran Krneta was asked about the possibility of Karol Świderski leaving the club. His response was, "Karol Świderski is absolutely untouchable".
A year later, everything indicates that the Polish international will be moving on in the winter window.
A less than ideal relationship
There has been a dramatic change in the sentiment between the front office and Świderski. A relationship that once seemed good is now less than ideal. From what we have gathered, Charlotte wants to move on from Świderski, and he wants to leave Charlotte. At the beginning of the year, the Polish striker mentioned that he was happy in Charlotte. In an interview with MLSsoccer.com, Świderski mentioned he wanted to win something with Charlotte. "Yes, maybe some clubs want to take me back to Europe, but I don't think about this now. First, I want to win something with Charlotte."
As the season has progressed, that message from both Świderski and his agent has changed. In an article produced by Pilkarski Swiat, the Polish international was quoted saying "I definitely want to return to Europe, and I don't hide that. They know about it at my club as well. I don't want anything to happen by force." Świderski's agent has also spoken about the Polish striker moving on from Charlotte FC. "Charlotte received a very good offer from Midtjylland for Świderski. If the Danes had eliminated Legia and advanced to the Conference League, this deal would probably have been done by now." According to a source, Charlotte FC rejected a bid of around $6-7 million from the Danish side in the summer transfer window.
The unexpected battle for the nine role
On January 11th, 2023, Charlotte FC signed Argentine striker Enzo Copetti as a designated player. This move from the club suggested that Charlotte was looking for a different characteristic in the number nine role than what Świderski provided. With the signing of Copetti, it was understood that he would play as the striker, while Świderski would take on a more creative role—a position in which he thrived at the end of the last season.
Photo courtesy of Cisco's Art
During this season, Świderski has played as a winger, creative midfielder, and striker in a struggling Charlotte FC side. Świderski struggled to find his best form at times for Charlotte and has even been dropped to the bench for some games.
According to a source, this has caused frustration and a tense relationship with the coaching staff. Head coach Christian Lattanzio has made it known to the striker during matches that he isn't performing at the level expected of a designated player. In response, the striker has argued that there has been a lack of clarity from the coaching staff. Adding to the complexity, Copetti has also been struggling to find his best form for Charlotte FC.
Świderski has now come out and mentioned how he is more effective in the striker position. "The coach has placed me in the 8/10 position several times this year, which is definitely not the optimal solution for me. However, I'm the type of player who will try to play as well as possible regardless of where the coach positions me. Sometimes it looked better, sometimes worse, but recently, I played up front because our Argentine striker, Copetti, who is also a 'designated player,' got injured. I think there was a noticeable difference when I was able to return to the attack - regularity in scoring goals returned, and my game looked much better."
In Charlotte FC's two most recent games, we have seen Copetti sub in to replace Świderski in that nine role. As the season comes to a close, we will likely continue to see this happening, as both designated players vie to be the starting striker for Charlotte FC. Having two designated players competing for one starting spot is less than ideal, as both players have characteristics that should benefit the team. However, given the nature of things, Lattanzio finds himself in a unique situation with two players wanting to start up top.
What happens next?
Charlotte currently finds themselves in the hunt for a playoff spot with eight games left to go, and Świderski being the most productive player in the squad. Lattanzio must figure out how to navigate the situation with Świderski and get the best out of a player who openly suggests he wants out. The one thing we know for sure is that all indications are pointing towards Świderski not being a Charlotte FC player at the beginning of next season.