More questions than answers over Bielik’s future

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Ahead of the game against Burnley last month Krystian Bielik, who was watching the match with the rest of the youth players behind the away dugout, was asked by a member of Arsenal coaching staff about his latest injury.

Bielik replied that his shoulder was still causing him pain, and the defender seemed rather astonished that he was continuing to be quite so unfortunate in that regard, with the problem having meant that his loan spell with Walsall in the second half of last season was effectively a write off as he didn’t make a single appearance for his temporary club.

Last summer Bielik was set to go on loan but an injury suffered in an U23 game scuppered those hopes, meaning that he had to stay with Arsenal until December.

It was, overall, a season in which Bielik, through no fault of his own, was unable to take any significant strides forward in his development and instead ended up with his chances of making the breakthrough at Arsenal seemingly reduced by the arrival of Konstantinos Mavropanos.

Bielik, now hopefully fully free of his injury problems, is back training at Arsenal and will aim to make a positive first impression under new head coach Unai Emery.

It is questionable, though, whether Bielik will get much of a look in at all during pre-season training. Laurent Koscielny is injured, but Emery can still call upon Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding and Mavropanos, while Sokratis Papastathopoulos is likely to sign at some point.

Quite where that leaves Bielik is uncertain. He is, at the age of 20, still rather young, but it won’t be too long until he will be classed a senior player by Premier League and UEFA rules, and he will surely want clarification on his long-term future sooner rather than later.

The fact that Bielik has been left in this situation is especially frustrating considering how impressive he was during a loan spell at Birmingham City in the 2016/17 campaign, while in his performances for Arsenal at youth level he has frequently impressed at centre-back following his transition from a defensive-midfielder.

Time isn’t yet running out for Bielik, but he could certainly be forgiven if he is rather concerned about his chances of getting into the senior squad.

One or more of the current centre-backs could depart this summer, while there is also a possibility that injuries could strike, leading to Bielik being thrown into the side.

At present, though, that is a rather unlikely scenario and something would have to change significantly for Bielik to even be included in the travelling party for the pre-season trip to Singapore.

If he isn’t selected for that trip then another loan spell will probably beckon, but at some stage he will have to make the transition from prospect to starter, whether that is at Arsenal or somewhere else.

Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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Heavenly Chapecoense

The club must keep him in our youth setting the time he heals properly. Arsenal shouldn’t have to buy a defender when Koscielny leaves the club in a couple of years or if Mustafi doesn’t improve. These guys are good.

Faisal Narrage

There’s another solution….put him back in midfield. He’s looked good at CB but even Jorge himself will sing the praises of his performances as DM, where he looked utterly amazing even as a 16 year old and way beyond the limits. Wenger’s preference for turning physical ball-playing DMs into CBs because of his general dislike of DMs hasn’t worked out for most. Some survived (namely Song who initially we tried to turn into a CB. In the end, he fell away as we then turned him into an average box to box CM rather than using him and keeping him… Read more »

clins

i think at times when he got to play as a centre back in senior teams he has impressed more than enough. the season before last one he was on loan at birmigham and and he looked genuinly exciting far outshining other senior players in that team . dont know for sure if Bielk will make it but i hope one of Bielk chambers mavrapanos sheaf eventually comes out to be good. Bielk and mavrapanos is looking more likely to be that one

WellArsed

Can’t believe I am writing this Faisal, but I agree entirely. We got so used to Wenger moving people out of position that it began to seem almost normal. But, you’re right, Bielik looked a lot better as a DM than a CB – plus, he’s on contract already.

It will be interesting to see how Emery deals with those players who, for various reasons, were somewhat marginalized under Wenger.

Trez

Convert him back to a DM. It’s not that hard…

Hantal

I don’t follow the youth team closely but whenever I hear about a prospect it seems they’ve all had long term injury problems- much like the current squad.
This leads me to suspect there’s something seriously wrong with the entire medical/fitness/recovery setup. It’s not just a single player with a bad history, it goes right down into the youngsters too

Utkarsh

nah