Forward of Jakub Kiwior’s £17.5m transfer to Arsenal, Sports activities Mole takes an in-depth have a look at the 22-year-old centre-back’s profession and the way he’ll match into the Gunners’ system.
Arsenal are on the verge of sealing their second signing of the winter switch window, as Spezia heart again Jakub Kiwior prepares to finish his change to North London.
The 22-year-old watched on from the Emirates stands as Mikel Arteta‘s facet beat Manchester United 3-2 on Sunday, having already accomplished his medical and agreed phrases on a four-and-a-half 12 months contract.
An official announcement of Kiwior’s switch – which is able to price the Gunners £17.5m and an extra £3.5m in add-ons – is now believed to be solely various hours away, and the Poland worldwide will turn into Arsenal’s second January arrival after Leandro Trossard.
As Kiwior prepares to compete with and canopy for Gabriel Magalhaes on the again, sports activities mole takes a more in-depth have a look at the defender’s fledgling profession and the way he’ll match into Arteta’s system.
Born within the metropolis of Tychy in southern Poland, Kiwior started his footballing profession at his hometown membership earlier than becoming a member of the youth academy of Anderlecht in 2016, with the Belgian giants paying roughly £11,400 for the 16-year-old.
After making 5 UEFA Youth League appearances in two-and-a-half years for Anderlecht, Kiwior examined himself in Slovakia with Podbrezova and MSK Zilina, the place he made his breakthrough in senior soccer as a fresh-faced teenager.
Throughout his penultimate season with MSK Zilina, Kiwior – who had survived the membership’s cull of 17 gamers throughout their pandemic-inflicted liquidation – helped the Slovakian minnows make the Europa Convention League qualifiers, the place he performed each minute of his facet’s eight video games earlier than they misplaced within the remaining qualifying spherical to Jablonec.
Kiwior’s home and European exploits caught the attention of Serie A brand new boys Spezia, who paid €2.2m (£1.9m) to deliver the versatile Polish defender to Italy in August 2021, and his profession has solely been on an upward trajectory since.
As he tailored to the rigours of Italian top-flight soccer, Kiwior watched on from the bench within the opening two months of the 2021-22 season earlier than making his aggressive debut for Spezia in opposition to Inter Milan on December 1.
The Pole hardly loved the best outing – selecting up a yellow card as his facet misplaced 2-0 to the then-champions – and he was subsequently dropped to the bench as soon as once more for Spezia’s following 2-2 draw with Sassuolo earlier than changing into a daily first -teamer.
Largely working as a defensive midfielder throughout his debut season, Kiwior made a complete of 21 begins in Serie A as Spezia prevented demotion to Serie B – putting sixteenth – and he transitioned to a centre-back function for the 2022-23 marketing campaign, beginning every of his facet’s 17 Serie A fixtures earlier than talks with Arsenal heated up.
In addition to working within the coronary heart of a again three and on the base of the midfield, Kiwior’s left-footedness has additionally been utilized in a full-back and wing-back function, and it’s simple to see why Arteta has singled out the 22-year-old as a great match for his system.
A bodily imposing defender at 6″2′, Kiwior instances his tackles effectively and is assured on the ball – able to selecting out a protracted go and breaking the traces below stress – and he’s not afraid to drive ahead into house if the chance presents itself.
Rating within the 91st percentile for blocks versus centre-backs prior to now 12 months – unsurprising given Spezia’s struggles in Serie A – Kiwior won’t draw back from nook or free-kick duties if wanted both.
Kiwior has donned the Poland jersey from Below-16 to senior degree, and he was taken below the wing of former first-team supervisor Czesław Michniewicz within the Below-21s earlier than his step-up to the primary workforce.
The centre-back earned his first senior cap for Poland in June 2022, enjoying the total 90 minutes of a 2-2 draw with the Netherlands within the UEFA Nations League, and he held his place for the rest of the 2021-22 match, together with a 1-0 win over Wales in September.
Regardless of his relative inexperience, Kiwior had earned the belief of Michniewicz and was referred to as as much as the squad for the 2022 World Cup, the place he didn’t miss a single minute of motion in Group C, serving to Poland hold clear sheets in opposition to Mexico and Saudi Arabia.
Kiwior’s efforts helped Poland qualify for the final 16, and he saved his place within the beginning lineup for the Eagles’ knockout assembly with France, however he was taken off on the 87-minute mark as Poland suffered a 3-1 defeat to the eventual runners-up.
The soon-to-be Arsenal defender will anticipate to play one other key function within the Eagles’ bid for Euro 2024 qualification later this 12 months, and fellow left-footer Gabriel will relish the duvet and competitors Kiwior will present because the Gunners proceed to struggle for Premier League, Europa League and FA Cup titles within the coming months.