Arsenal midfielder Krystian Bielik is reportedly attracting interest from a host of Championship clubs including Derby County, West Brom, Middlesbrough and Brentford.
The 21-year-old could be sold permanently if he does not sign a new deal at Arsenal this summer, and a number of clubs are lining up for him after his impressive performances on loan at Charlton last term.
Bielik made 34 appearances and scored four goals for the Addicks, as he played a key part in helping Lee Bowyer’s side achieve promotion from League One via the play-offs.
With the midfielder’s future up in the air, we take a close look at the situation in today’s FLW Six Pointer…
Firstly, just how impressive was Bielik last season?
“It would not be an understatement to say that he 21-year-old was a key player for Lee Bowyer last season, as he was a regular throughout the promotion-winning campaign.
“The second half of his season was hampered by injury, but he managed to recover in time to start all three of Charlton’s play-off clashes.
“Bielik used his versatility to operate in both midfield and defence over the season, while he also displayed his goalscoring ability by netting four times overall. This includes the crucial goal he scored against Doncaster in the play-off semi-final second leg.”
What are his key qualities?
“Bielik is capable of providing a composed presence at the heart of his side’s midfield, as he is comfortable on the ball and can dictate play from deep. This means he would be well-suited in a side looking to play an expansive brand of football.
“He is also strong defensively and is not one to shy away from tackles, which means he would also add a steely element to any Championship side’s midfield. However, he must be careful to ensure this does not spill over the edge, as he was booked 13 times last season.
“Bielik simply has an excellent footballing brain for a 21-year-old, which can be seen in the way he reads the game as well as his versatility. He has a wide range of qualities which can help him succeed at Championship level.”
So, why are Arsenal open to letting him go?
“The Gunners would ideally like to keep a player of Bielik’s talent at the club, but he may end up leaving as a result of his contract situation. Arsenal will not let any players enter the final year of their contract, and Bielik currently has two years left on his deal which is yet to be renewed.
“Unai Emery does not see Bielik as part of his first-team plans yet, but this means he would ideally like to tie Bielik down on a long-term contract and then loan him out again next season. However, the midfielder could also be sold on a permanent deal this summer if player and club cannot agree on new contract terms.
“It would seem a real waste for Arsenal to let Bielik leave the club before he has had his chance in the senior set-up, but he would be an excellent permanent signing for any Championship club.”
Is he good enough to succeed in the Championship?
“Absolutely. Bielik needed a season of playing regular senior football, and he is now ready to make the step up and play for one of the top sides in the Championship.
“A number of the sides he is linked with are open to playing expansive, possession-based football and he would slot in seamlessly to this kind of system.
“Bielik’s strong build means he would also have the physicality to manage the step up to the second tier, and he is capable of becoming one of the top players in the division after an adaptation period.”
Could he possibly make a return to Charlton?
“A return to The Valley seems unlikely, given those linked with Bielik are all established Championship sides. Charlton fans will be desperate for the midfielder to return to their club, but Arsenal will prefer that Bielik joins a side competing for promotion if he is to leave on loan.
“Charlton are also operating on a slim transfer budget at present, which means the Addicks are unlikely to be able to compete with any loan fee offered by one of the bigger clubs.
“Bielik also impressed for the Poland Under-21 side during the European Championships, meaning his stock will have increased even further since his loan spell at Charlton.”
Finally, where can you see Bielik ending up next season?
“I can see Brentford being an excellent fit for Bielik, as Thomas Frank aims to play a style of football that would suit him perfectly. He would be able to dictate the Bees’ play from deep, while he would also add some necessary steel to Frank’s side’s ranks.
“Brentford have already signalled their intent during this transfer window with a string of high-profile signings, and Bielik would represent another strong addition who could help Brentford push for promotion.”