Bielik joins Derby permanently but will Arsenal regret his departure?

In recent weeks it had seemed increasingly inevitable that Krystian Bielik would leave Arsenal permanently, and so it has proved, as he signed for Championship side Derby County today.

Having excelled for Poland at the U21 European Championship this summer off the back of an encouraging loan spell at Charlton Athletic, Bielik was eager to push on and made it abundantly clear that he wanted to be playing regular first-team football.

It would have been difficult for Bielik to fulfil that objective at Arsenal, with Calum Chambers back from Fulham and possessing a wealth of Premier League experience.

At one stage it appeared very likely that Bielik could make the breakthrough at Arsenal, but he often got injured at inopportune moments.

There was much hype surrounding Bielik when he joined from Legia Warsaw in January 2015, and he immediately started training with the first-team squad.

The prospect impressed during a loan spell at Birmingham City in 2017 but leaves Arsenal having made just two competitive first-team appearances.

Bielik travelled with the Arsenal squad for a game against Leicester City in 2016 but wasn’t named on the bench. That was the closest he got to featuring for the club in the Premier League.

At youth level he frequently impressed whether deployed at centre-back or in midfield, and particularly excelled in bringing the ball forwards.

When a club has so many talented youngsters at their disposal some will end up departing, as we have seen recently with Xavier Amaechi.

Bielik’s case is a little different as he waited for his opportunity but it wasn’t forthcoming. Now he will look to make Arsenal regret their decision not to give him a chance.


  1. The club has to try to avoid the same kind of thing happening to the likes of Mavrapanos, Medley and Ballard.
    Wish Bielik the best of luck. Was really hoping that both him and Chambers would get a shot at making it at Arsenal.

    1. Yeah but are any of those players going to really make a difference to the first team? I’ve followed arsenal youth set up for ages and there is always sadness when lads leave. But looking back on it, there aren’t too many who have left who I think would have really improved the first team – Serge Gnabry is one. This lad Bennacer looks like he might turn out to be a fantastic player – he had a great season at Empoli and the Algerian national team, but is he better than Torreira? He may well turn out to be. The fact is that it is very hard to come through the ranks and make it in the first team. I suspect that a lot of the lads you have mentioned may turn out to very good professional footballers, even premier league players. But are they top 4 calibre? Time will tell if Bielik turns out to be ‘the one that got away’ but remember that for every Serge Gnabry there are dozens of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’. JET was dubbed the new Yaya when he was coming through at Arsenal. He must be 27 or 28 now and I think he is playing in Thailand. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud of all the lads that we produce and there is always a special place in my heart for Arsenal youth products. Eg I remember following Luke Ayling when he was coming through the ranks and it is great to see him captaining Leeds now. I would also add that it is particularly difficult for young centre-backs to come through the ranks at top clubs and go straight into the first team at ages 18 – 20. It is a position that relies on positioning and decision making which really develop with experience. #TwoCents

  2. Let’s hope we retained the better man. But Bielik was seen more as a defensive midfielder, the role now occupied by Torreira, who’s only 2 years older, and covered by Maitland-Niles. Further down the pecking order we can see Burton and Matt Smith.

    Tough decisions there, but thanks Krystian and all the best wishes with your new club.

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