There’s nothing but praise for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta’s managerial brilliance this season. The system seems to be working; the results are favourable, and the trophy that had eluded the Gunners for almost two decades is now within reach again.
All this has come in its due time, but the club has paid a lot for it. For now, there’s a ray of hope shining at the Emirates Stadium, as one outstanding performance is followed by another. To keep the engine running and realize its aim, Arsenal was actively looking for reinforcements in the winter transfer window, which is nearing its end.
Unfortunately, chasing Mykhaylo Mudryk didn’t bring any joy but the arrival of Leandro Trossard from Brighton & Hove Albion eased some nerves. Trossard will bolster the forward line for the Gunners, but another area of concern for Arteta was the depth in his defensive squad.
Thankfully, Arteta’s prayers have been answered. A young 22-year-old left-footed defender from Spezia Calcio in Serie A (Italy) has signed for £22 million for the Gunners on a long-term basis. He is Jakub Kiwior, a Polish defender who broke out with his impeccable performances in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar last year.
It’s amusing because, until June 2022, Kiwior hadn’t even made his national debut for Poland. So becoming a starter for his country in a World Cup speaks volumes of his talents and skills.
Jakub comes from humble beginnings. He started with Železiarne Podbrezová, a club in Slovakia then made his way to Zilina in the same county, and then shifted base to Italy with Spezia in 2021.
The young defender is described by his former coach as a player with good physical attributes, great in duels, and an immense ability to absorb pressure in big games. All of this works in tandem with the demands of the Premier League.
But offering an untested talent like Jakub more than your current experienced defenders in the squad has raised some eyes.
As per transfer guru, Fabrizio Romano, the Polish defender will earn £3 million until June 2028. This means that Jakub will take almost £58,000 every week, which puts him above the likes of Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba, who make £50,000 and £40,000 per week, respectively.
Jakub’s wages also take him ahead of Emile Smith Rowe and Fabio Vieira, who are an integral part of Arsenal’s midfield.
For a player who was making a mere €2500 a week ago at Spezia, this kind of money is beyond his wildest dreams.
But Jakub’s high wage structure can be justified because of the solution he brings to the left side of Arsenal’s defence.
Arsenal direly needed a left-footed defender, as Gabriel was the only available solution in the squad as of now. The right side of the defensive line is covered with Ben White, Saliba, and Takehiro Tomiyasu, which made the left side of the defence vulnerable if Gabriel is injured.
Jakub’s left-footed ability will now come in handy for Arteta, who can deploy the Polish defender and rest Gabriel for crucial games.
For all its worth, Jakub might make much more than his defensive peers, but he solves a much greater problem for Arteta at present. The big bucks that Arsenal spent on Jakub seem justified for now.