Arsene Wenger says Krystian Bielik has everything to make it as a top-class centre-half, but admitted the Polish youngster needs experience.
He arrived at Arsenal as midfielder, having made his debut for Legia Warsaw as a 16 year old, but the Frenchman has retrained him as a defender, seeing his ability on the ball as a crucial ingredient.
The Gunners currently have three young players vying for a place in the side in that position. Bielik will compete with new signing Rob Holding and Calum Chambers, and Wenger has hinted that he might play the 18 year old (likely in the Capital One Cup), and then loan him out, to help him develop.
“Bielek has all the qualities and ingredients to be a top level centre-back,” said Wenger.
“The one thing he is missing is the experience in this position because he came to us as a central midfielder, but I converted him into a centre-back because I felt he can play the type of football we want to play as a centre-back.
“This is a position for experienced players because you pay for every mistake with a goal in this position, in the Premier League.
“What I have try to do with him this season is to work on his positional play and improve him, and give him some games. If in December, he is not ready, we will try and get him to play somewhere.”
As for competition at centre-half, Wenger said he’ll assess his options.
“We have three young players who compete for the position; Holding, who has been very impressive, Bielik and Chambers. I will have to make a decision on who is the closest to that position.”
At the moment, until a replacement for the injured Per Mertesacker is found, chances are all three will stay, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some loan action closer to the end of the transfer window.