Krystian Bielik departed for Derby County this summer as Arsenal judged him below the required standards.
The versatile youngster was once hailed as one of the biggest prospects among the generation which brought forward Alex Iwobi, Gedion Zelalem and Jeff Reine-Adelaide. However, carrying their trend on, Bielik failed to cemented himself among the first-team players.
The Polish midfielder seemed to be a great name to have in the squad, especially because of his versatility that allowed him to play as a defender and as a defensive midfielder. The Hale End prospect excelled in the latter area over the course of his loan spell and with the Poland U-21 team.
Fans expected Bielik to be given chances, but he was gone as soon as he returned. A lot of it revolved around the fact that the youngster craved more first-team action but also around the reality that the Londoners’ hierarchy had lost faith in him.
“I didn’t go on tour with my team because I had a three-week vacation after the tournament,” the midfielder revealed to Polish outlet Przeglad Sportowy.
“I came back and nobody was at the club. I didn’t get the information that I should fly to the USA, so it was the first signal that I wasn’t in the club’s plans.”
Nevertheless, there was a chance that the Poland U-21 international could stay, as boss Unai Emery was willing to give him a chance. Alas, it was too late by then.
“I remember it was Monday and after training, coach Emery came up to me,” Bielik said as he narrated the scenes behind his move to Derby. “He said he heard that I had a good previous season and would like to look at me.
“He offered me to fly with Arsenal for a pre-season match. But when I got a call on Monday evening that the club had a deal with Derby about the sale, I didn’t think twice. I didn’t want to risk it anymore.”
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However, what caught the attention of the masses was the final comment left by the 21-year-old, who almost mockingly said:
“I know that if Arsene Wenger were still working at Arsenal, I would get a chance.”
Certainly a very unexpected revelation, but this could be showing a shift in direction from the old regime. Arsene Wenger pioneered in youth development so much that he often found himself dragging deadwood along. It could be that the new regime does not keep faith in youngsters for too long.
But the fact that the Gunners let go of such a good looking prospect despite the wishes of the gaffer really puts into perspective that Wenger is gone, and may have taken his philosophy with him.
Hopefully the youngster can one day prove his worth and make a return to the Premier League.