Gianfranco Zola has highlighted the similarities in new Derby County signing Krystian Bielik to Manchester United defender Harry Maguire.
Bielik joined the Rams this summer, and has impressed previously whilst at a number of different Football League clubs on loan.
The defender made just two appearances for the Gunners having moved to North London in 2015 from Polish side Legia Warsaw.
Chelsea legend Zola claimed that his unflustered playing style makes him an impressive player for this division.
He told The Athletic: “In a way, a very small way, he is similar to Harry Maguire.
“He’s very progressive with the ball, he’s not afraid of bringing the ball forward and making a pass.
“What impressed me most was his personality. When he came to us there were a lot of experienced players around him and he didn’t seem fazed at all.
“He just played football.”
Zola managed him during his time at Birmingham City. Bielik was on loan at the club and made ten appearances during a brief stint.
At the same time, despite the large fee paid, Derby fans must remain patient with the centre-back having made just 46 league appearances in the last five years. However, at the age of just 21 there is a lot of potential for Bielik to have a successful career.
It’s no surprise to hear the comments that Zola has made. Coming from Arsenal, Bielik was always going to be comfortable on the ball and that will only help the way Phillip Cocu wants his side to play.
Yes, it’s a big fee that the Rams have spent, but nowadays to get players of the highest quality, you have to pay the money. They’ll be hoping that Bielik will prove to be a worthy investment and hope that he can go onto play Premier League football with the club in the future.
Harry Maguire is a top, top player, and to be linked with someone of that stature so early in his career is a massive bonus for the youngster. If he keeps his head down and develops well, he’ll be a brilliant defender – especially as possession becomes more prominent in modern football.