Krystian Bielik has been at the club for a fair amount of time now.
He originally signed back in 2015, and in those four years, he has enjoyed loan spells at Birmingham City, Walsall and Charlton Athletic. It is this last loan spell in particular that has really brought his name to prominence, and as a potential candidate for our first team squad next season.
Bielik was a mainstay in the Addicks rearguard as they marched to the League One Playoffs and eventual promotion to the Championship.
Thirty one appearances and three goals tell only half a story of a player flourishing with plenty of game time and a show of confidence from his coach.
Now, Bielik will return to Arsenal on the cusp of becoming a fully-fledged member of the first-team reckoning. His display for Poland Under-21’s against Italy was perhaps the biggest indicator that he has now progressed from the raw defender who arrived four years ago, and has transformed into a strong, aerially-combative and intelligent defender.
Will Unai Emery use Bielik though?
Much hinges on the ins and outs of this summer, and perhaps even more tellingly, our summer friendly schedule.
Last season saw many of our kids blooded in our warm-up fixtures, and with Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal both edging toward 34 years old, reinforcements at the back are necessary.
Especially given that Shkodran Mustafi, excellent in the air and on the deck but with a decision-making process akin to every Brexit Secretary we have had thus far, is not exactly convincing Emery for the long-term.
Sokratis, Rob Holding and Calum Chambers will probably form the mainstay of our backline, with Dinos Mavropanos looking a prime candidate for a loan move. That means that Krystian Bielik could take his form and his growth and show Emery what he is capable of in pre-season – and grab a spot in the squad.
Would it be a worthy choice? He certainly deserves a shot at the big time. Only with games will the Polish defender be able to show whether or not he is up to scratch.
So far, he certainly looks like the real deal.