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.