Someone once said goals are overrated.
And they were right.
When it comes to young players nothing puts them on the map quicker. Goals and goalscorers grab headlines but they do not tell the whole story. Indeed, they often distort it.
In the wonderkid vortex they can be dangerous, amplifying a young player’s potential.
Goals are football’s most simple and vital statistic. They tell a version of the truth but one that is filled with mendacity. A good judge will pay them little heed – a player’s real quality lies in the less obvious facets of technique, movement, mentality and poise.
So we should look at the goal-scorer charts with a degree of trepidation when trying to predict the future.
But when a 19-year-old striker scores more than 20 goals in his debut season it is worth paying attention.
Goals might distort the truth but there is no denying that Adrian Petre is doing something very interesting.
At time of writing he has scored 21 goals in 19 league games. His team, UTA Arad, were relegated from the Romanian top division last season but he is driving them toward an immediate promotion.
Petre is tall (185cm) and fast but it is the variety of his goals which is most eye-catching. Left and right foot, tap-ins and piledrivers, individual or team goals – he has a varied arsenal and is on a very hot streak of form.
UTA Arad are currently second in the league, some distance behind Juventus Bucaresti. Whether they can bounce back to the top division remains to be seen. But it is clear there young striker is too good for his current surroundings.
He has been involved with the Romania youth teams from Under 16 level up to under 19 and scored against England U17 in 2015. It would be no surprise to see him offered involvement at a higher level soon.
Transfer speculation is sure to intensify as the Romanian season draws to a close.
Arad sold 18-year-old attacking prospect Dennis Man to Steau Bucharest in September 2016 and it would no great surprise to see Petre make a similar move.
The big Romanian clubs know all about him and scouts from further afield will be aware of his recent exploits.
A casual glance at the goal scoring charts tells you this is a player enjoying a phenomenal debut season.
But before we get accused of fake news it should be remembered that only a fool would take his goal tally as a meaningful indication of ability. The Romanian Liga 2 is not the worst division in the world but there are far more stringent testing grounds.