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Player Profile – Jakub Kiwior | What Will Be The Polish Centre-back’s Role And How Will He Fit In At Arsenal?

Polish defender Jakub Kiwior became the second Arsenal signing of the winter transfer window. The North London side announced the centre-back’s arrival from Italian side Spezia in a deal worth £20m.

Kiwior becomes Arsenal’s fourth natural centre-back in the squad. Mikel Arteta already has the options of William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes and Rob Holding. Furthermore, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Ben White can also be deployed in the heart of the defence.

Jakub Kiwior, Arsenal
Image Obtained via Planet Football

The Polish international himself is a versatile player. He can also function as a left-back or in defensive midfield. The 22-year-old signed a four-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners, with the option to extend for another year.

Player Career

Jakub Kiwior spent his youth career with GKS Tychy in Poland, and Anderlecht in Belgium until 2018. The Polish defender made his professional debut for Slovak club FK Železiarne Podbrezová in February 2019. After making 16 appearances, he signed up for MŠK Žilina.

Across 2 seasons, he recorded 46 appearances for the MŠK Žilina first-team and 7 games with the B team. Due to the COVID pandemic, the Slovakian club entered liquidation and 17 players were released from the team. However, Kiwior was retained.

The 22-year-old earned a transfer to Spezia in 2021 on a four-year deal. Kiwior immediately got involved with the team dynamics, making 23 appearances in all competitions. He carried his form forward into the 2022-23 season, making 20 appearances until the winter transfer window (stats via Transfermarkt).

Jakub Kiwior was also a part of the Polish contingent for the 2022 FIFA World Cup held in Qatar, playing all 4 games for his team in the tournament. He has also featured in the UEFA Nations League on four occasions.

Jakub Kiwior: Player Profile

Jakub Kiwior is a left-footed defender, primarily used as a centre-back. The Polish international was mostly used as a defensive midfielder by Spezia in the 2021-22 season. On the left side of a 4-2-3-1 setup, Kiwior was tasked with shielding his backline from opposition attacks in transitions.

The 22-year-old is a strong tackler with a great positioning sense and the ability to read the game. His physique and height of 189cm allow the centre-back to effectively use his frame to contest duels and win aerial battles too.

This season, Spezia have deployed Kiwior in the back-3, generally as the outside centre-back. His ball-playing abilities have not been on full display as the Italian club does not often play out from the back. However, the former Žilina man has shown good composure under pressure to thread difficult passes between the lines. He also has the ability to pick out long passes and cross-field switches deep into the opposition half.

One of Kiwior’s biggest shortcomings is his ability to defend space. The 22-year-old has struggled against pacy wingers who get space to run into behind the defence. However, Kiwior is effective in closing down tight spaces and winning races up and down the touchline. In fact, he has already begun breaking records in training at Arsenal.

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Jakub Kiwior represents some more fantastic business from Arsenal in the recent windows. The Polish international arrives for a very reasonable fee and can provide quality depth in 3 different defensive positions.

William Saliba and Gabriel have been Arteta’s preferred options in the central defence this season, and that remains unlikely to change. However, Kiwior can be called upon for games in the Europa League, or when Arteta wants to rest the Brazilian.

The 22-year-old defender could also be used as a pivot in the midfield in place of Thomas Partey, or offer a different dynamic at left-back as compared to Kieran Tierney and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

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Adithya Ravi
Football enthusiast. Stat enthusiast

One thought on “Player Profile – Jakub Kiwior | What Will Be The Polish Centre-back’s Role And How Will He Fit In At Arsenal?

  1. Jakub Kiwior is the only formidable DM backup for Partey in the team.
    The earlier Arteta realizes the better.
    Jorginho came on and we conceded IMMEDIATELY.
    That’s bad omen. That’s bad sign. The team will only continue to go down the rail with Jorginho play in that DM role.
    This is the reason we will miss out on the league.
    And we won’t forgive Arteta for it.

    All the games Vieira played on the wings for us we lost them. Marquinhos and Folarin offers more on the flanks than Trossard and Vieira. Yet Arteta loaned them out, leaving only Nelson as the proper back for Saka/Martinelli on the wing duties.

    Arteta is not yet a top coach, he is clearly getting so many many things wrong!

    He still needs to go learn more Guardiola sincerely.

    Check all of Guardiola’s team and see the typical guys he deploys at the base of his midfield. Compare to what Arteta wants to be doing with Lokonga, Elneny and Jorginho?? Disaster is looming.

    We can’t afford to miss out on the league!!!!

    Arteta has to wake up.

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