Thursday, April 25, 2024

Defensive ranks bolstered as Jakub Kiwior signs from Spezia

Morning all.

Let’s start with the news that Arsenal dropped yesterday evening – the official announcement that we’ve signed Polish centre-half Jakub Kiwior from Spezia. The 22 year old’s arrival is not a surprise at this point. It was widely reported over the weekend and he was at the stadium to watch the 3-2 win over Man United on Sunday evening.

However, until those reports nobody had – as far as I’m aware at least – linked us with this player. Not quite a Fabio Vieira level out-of-the-bluer, but a reminder that we can fly under the radar a little bit with our recruitment. Obviously things like the Mudryk situation played out in the full public glare, but let’s recognise that was entirely down to Shakhtar and the way they dealt with it. It wasn’t as if Edu appeared on the six o’clock news wearing a I ❤️ Mudryk t-shirt.

So, what do we know about the new lad? Well, Phil Costa’s profile piece will give you a good background on his career and his attributes. In short though, there are elements to his game which immediately stand out as compatible with Arsenal. His passing, how comfortable he is on the ball, and some real physical presence. We may not be the biggest team around, but we’re far more imposing than we were. Our collection of barely 6′ defenders has been replaced by players like Takehiro Tomiyasu, Gabriel and William Saliba. Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey add that in midfield. Even the physical development of someone like Eddie Nketiah is notable, and Kiwior will add to that.

Like any 22 year old with relatively limited experience at the top level, there are things he can improve on. It’s often tough to properly judge a player who is in a team that struggles. Danger can lead to desperation, despite the best intentions of a defender, but clearly Edu and Mikel Arteta have seen enough to pull the trigger, backing the ability of the manager and his coaching staff to polish him up (no pun intended).

He has 9 caps for Poland, making his debut last year, and he started all four games for them in the World Cup. It looks like he’s on the right path, and Arsenal moving for a player like this before he has another year or two to bolster his reputation makes sense. It’s not completely dissimilar from the capture of Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille who arrived at 22, still really young in the life of a centre-half. Since then he’s grown into a fine defender, one of our most consistent players both in terms of performance and availability, so let’s hope for the same kind of trajectory for Kiwior. His versatility is another interesting aspect to this signing, and it’s been a feature of many of our new arrivals in the last couple of years.

Anyway, Kiwior says:

“I’ve always dreamt of playing in the Premier League. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, and if I got the chance, then I knew I’d have to make the most of it because it was one of my biggest dreams. For me, it’s the best league. I’m thrilled to be here.

“It’s huge for me that Arsenal were interested and that I’m able to be here. I’m aware that Arsenal are a massive club in a top league, so I didn’t really have to think about much else. I was just ecstatic and really wanted to come.

“I love passing the ball. I like teams that move the ball and try to create chances that way. So, I’m happy that I’ve come to a team like that.”

How quickly he can settle in and be ready remains to be seen, but as we head into what’s going to be a busy time with football all the way until the end of May – and hopefully across multiple competitions – having that extra depth in the squad will be important. There are potentially another 32 games to play this season (unlikely but possible), so the more hands on deck the better.

Welcome to the Arsenal, Jakub. Knock ’em dead.

Elsewhere, I’m a little disgruntled that Everton have sacked Frank Lampard. I saw a lot of United and City fans moaning that we didn’t play in midweek last week, which was a bit of a surprise when our home game against the Toffees remains unscheduled. On the one hand, I understand their gripes. On the other, I think if you’d asked Mikel Arteta if he’d prefer a free week or to play at home against this shambles of a football team with its dead-man-walking manager, I’m almost certain he’d have picked the latter.

Clearly it’s no surprise he got canned. Everton are genuinely terrible and unless they did something relegation was a very real possibility. It still is, but maybe they’ll sort it out a bit. On The 30 over on Patreon, we discussed the possibility of Sean Dyche returning to management there, it would make a lot of sense in the circumstances, but for Arsenal we’ve been denied a go at Lampard’s Limp Losers, which is a bit of a shame.

It’s also quite interesting to consider where we are now, after so many years of boardroom cold war, to see at what a club ‘owned’ by Alisher Usmanov looks like.

Right, let’s leave it there for now. Have a good Tuesday.

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