In The Pipeline: Arsenal’s defensive woes could be fixed by Krystian Bielik

It’s no secret that defensively Arsenal are an absolute shambles and in desperate need of a make-over this summer and a dramatic one at that.

Last season in the Premier League the Gunners shipped 51 goals in the division, more than the likes of Everton and Wolves and only two more than what 12th-placed Crystal Palace let in.

Arsenal’s backline is a mess and is in need of major construction this summer, and with only a reported £45m transfer budget to spend this transfer window, Unai Emery is going to have to pull off some of the deals of the summer if the Gunners are to return to the Champions League.

The Spaniard, however, might not have to look far when it comes to new defensive recruits thanks to Krystian Bielik.

The Polish defender is a name most Arsenal fans have known about for a while but are yet to really understand what he is capable of, but after an incredible season at Charlton where Bielik was named Man of the Match in the Addicks’ play-off final triumph against Sunderland, some supporters are starting to get excited.

Signed from Legia Warsaw for a reported £2.4m in 2015, from day one Bielik was seen as a player for the future, regularly playing in the Gunners’ various youth teams before being shipped out on loan to the likes of Birmingham City and Walsall, but it was Charlton where the Pole really made his name.

At 6 foot 2, Bielik stands out physically on the pitch, and although his frame and upbringing as a defender all point to him being a centre-back, the youngster thrived in a central defensive midfield role for Charlton, mainly sitting at the bottom of a midfield diamond for Lee Bowyer’s side in their promotion-clinching season.

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And it’s this versatility in defensive areas of the pitch that could make the 21-year-old an unexpected saviour for Arsenal.

Although central defence is the main red flag for the Gunners, an anchor-man could be beneficial for the club with Granit Xhaka more than a bit reckless in the tackle and Lucas Torreira’s rottweiler attitude more accustomed to going forward and winning the ball higher up.

Bielik has shown in the previous season that he is a player who has the potential to go far in the game, and although he won’t be a starter for next season at first, the Polish player could begin a long and successful Arsenal career playing as a solid backup to both the holding midfielders and centre-backs in the squad.