This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
New Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate will be working hard this summer to prepare his side for the up-coming Championship campaign, as he looks to create a squad capable of a top-six finish next season.
As he looks to strengthen his squad, Woodgate is looking at Arsenal midfielder Krystian Bielik, according to The Telegraph, with the 21-year-old Pole likely to make a move this summer after four years at the Gunners.
So would Bielik prove a good signing for Boro?
“Bielik would be wise business for Middlesbrough, baring in mind he has shown his capabilities in the EFL last season at Charlton.
“At 21, he has a lot of room to grow, and his versatility will also mean that Woodgate will have a lot of options available to him.
“Coming through Arsenal’s ranks, he has a very impressive passing range for a defensive minded player, and could be crucial if Woodgate wants to play more expansive football.
“While he may cost a decent fee, he is only going to improve. His wages shouldn’t be too much, and as he improves as a footballer his value is only going to increase, so there isn’t too much risk with this deal.”
“Yes, as long as they don’t dedicate too much of their budget to him.
“John Obi Mikel played a vital role for Boro in the second half of last season, playing in every game after joining the club in January.
“Bielik could be an ideal replacement for the 32-year-old who left the club this summer.
“The 21-year-old played the majority of his football in defensive midfield for Charlton Athletic last season, playing 23 of his 31 appearances in the role as he helped the Addicks secure promotion.
“However, Arsenal are reportedly keen to shift Bielik permanently if he does not extend his contract in the club and there are areas Boro need to focus on before they add another defensive asset.”
“The key area Woodgate needs to improve this summer is the final third, Boro had the best defence in the Championship last season but were the fifth lowest scorers. If they want to challenge for promotion this season they need to add more goals.”
“Bielik would be a brilliant signing for Boro. He would be a great partner for Daniel Ayala who he could learn a great deal from and over the course of the season could become an important player.
“He was excellent for Charlton last season and a big reason why they were promoted last season. He built up a formidable partnership with Patrick Bauer and there is no reason why he couldn’t do the same at Boro, who have a very experienced defence.
“In his 31 games last season he helped the Addicks keep 12 clean sheets, and in those games Charlton conceded just 22 goals, which highlights the impact he has.
“He is a very dependable defender who reads the game well and has the physical attributes to track defenders and dominate in the air. He is also useful with the ball at his feet so is a valuable option if Woodgate wants to implement a passing style.”