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John Smith writes a detailed Scout Report about Arsenal’s new Polish prospect, Krystian Bielik.
As of writing, the academy of Arsenal Football Club contains a mixture of players with a significant amount of potential. Popular names include the likes of: Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Gedion Zelalem and also Chris Willock. Whilst all these attacking players, and others, are heaped with outstanding praise, not as much is given to Polish prospect Krystian Bielik. The midfielder has made a great impact throughout his tenure at the academy. Despite his tender age of 18, he looks more than ready to work his way up to a sporadic position within the first team.
Born and raised in the centre of Poland in a town called Konin, Bielik grew up with aspirations to become a footballer. This reached reality soon after he hit the age of 14, and signed for his hometown club Gornik Kokin. After playing for the U-15s for approximately a year, he soon progressed to the developmental territory of the club. Whilst his time at the club in rather unknown, Bielik was lucky enough to earn some success as he won the Polish U-17 Championships whilst playing for Gornik Kokin.
Making the transition from your hometown club to your archrivals is always a difficult process to follow, this is something that Bielik achieved as he departed his hometown for rival team Legia Warsaw for an estimated £8,000. Considering their overall success as well as an academy prominent with star players, it later became obvious that completing the transfer would be the best move for the youngster’s career. At the age of 16, Bielik made his professional debut just a few weeks later after joining the club as he played against Korona Kielce.
A heavy fixture list at Legia Warsaw allowed for the Polish midfielder to complete a further 5 first team appearances for his club, and even made an appearance in the Europa League. In early 2015, Bielik saw his impressive run at the club come to an end as famous English club Arsenal enquired, and later purchased, the defensive midfielder for an undisclosed fee thought to be around £3 million.
Despite making sporadic first team appearances with his former club Legia Warsaw, the opportunity to play with some of the best at Arsenal became a difficult goal to achieve. Moving to the academy of the North London club and playing there ever since, it’s becoming an increasingly difficult task for Bielik to complete this process. Nevertheless, the Polish international is still 18, and has more than enough time to make his impact in the near future. As of writing, Bielik currently has one professional start for the Gunners, coming on for fellow debutant Glen Kamara in a 3-0 loss against Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup.
Similar to other players I have produced scout reports for, Bielik fits the same category in regards to his versatility as a player. Although originally playing as a defensive midfielder during his time at Legia Warsaw, he was soon transformed into a centre back once he completed the move to Arsenal. Nowadays, although originally playing as a centre back, the Polish international is still able to comfortably play in his former position as a defensive midfielder. This is a strength not only for him, but for Arsenal as a whole taking into account the fact that it offers up a variety of different options on how to utilise Bielik in different games to get the most out of him.
Notwithstanding the fact that Bielik can play as either a centre back or a defensive midfielder, his height compliments either position and helps make him an imposing threat in the air. Combined with his ability to head the ball, it allows for Bielik to be a remarkable threat in the air whether it’s coming from a cross or a set-piece.
During his tenure in North London, Bielik has earned comparisons to Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira from a minor number of fans and the occasional pundit. Whilst in a defensive midfield position, the youngster has the ability to dictate the pace of the play when in front of the back four that are sitting in defence. His withstanding passing ability has also been likened to the Arsenal great, having the ability to pick out a pass whether it’s from a shorter or a longer distance and supports the fluidity of the game.
Regardless of the strengths that the Polish starlet has, he also possesses some minor weaknesses as a player. Despite playing the occasional first team game with either Legia Warsaw or Arsenal, the youngster is still significantly inexperienced. This became evident in his only professional game for Arsenal as he lacked confidence on the ball as well as maintaining his position when playing against eventual winners Sheffield Wednesday.
Keeping in mind that one of Bielik’s best positions is in a defensive midfield role, his overall build and size is another negative for the youngster. Whilst his height remains a strength, especially being a threat in the air, his small build will certainly make life more difficult in challenging an opposing player for ball possession. Bulking up and becoming far more stronger will definitely become a key to success for the player, especially dealing with the physicality of the Premier League. Regardless of if he plays in defence or midfield, bulking up will certainly allow for him to become a bigger threat when challenging the opposition.
Whilst a call up to the Arsenal first team seems out of the question for the time being, the occasional appearance in the newly named EFL Cup along with a call up to the bench in an FA Cup game could still happen for the youngster. Any opportunity he is awarded for the coming season simply must not go to waste. Bielik has a lot of potential and should showcase his strengths in any opportunity given. Whilst it’s hard to predict the future, Bielik should play some first team football this season, and it will be a delight to see.
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