Krystian Bielik has already been linked with a season-long loan return to the Championship in recent weeks, as he’s keen to gain more experience before staking his claim in the first-team at Arsenal.
Nottingham Forest, as Nia recently reported, are keen on signing the 19-year-old this summer.
Now though, Derby’s interest in the Polish young international has increased.
Birmingham coaches are said to be impressed with his performances this season and they’re keen to have him back at St. Andrews next term, though it could come down to which side is better equipped for a promotion battle.
Having narrowly escaped relegation after Gianfranco Zola’s departure in the last month of the campaign, Bielik is sure to have had memorable experiences but could seek a change of scenery in England’s second tier. That being said, he’s already made it perfectly clear how much he enjoyed being in the Championship.
Despite making his professional Arsenal debut as a defensive-midfielder, where he didn’t look out of place unlike others during a 3-0 away defeat against Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup, Bielik has played in a centre-back role since.
Birmingham Mail’s Brian Dick gave his assessment on the 19-year-old’s performances, saying: “He’s extremely talented. There’s no doubt about his footballing ability.
“Coming from Arsenal, you’d expect him to be good on the ball – and he was. He showed great composure in a side that wasn’t functioning that well. That really stood out.
“Defensively, he still has bits to learn, which I think he’d admit himself. In his first few games, I think he was taken aback by the physicality of the Championship,” he continued.
“I remember speaking to him after one game and was talking about how strong and powerful the players were. He knew he had to adapt and, actually, he coped really well and I wouldn’t really say he was every overwhelmed.
“He made one or two errors that led to goals but he certainly showed more than enough to convince Blues fans that they want him back next season.”
Harry Redknapp, the new man in charge at Birmingham, has preferred using older and more experienced defenders so it’s uncertain whether he’ll actively seek a move for the Arsenal man ahead of pre-season in July.
Derby’s interest is likely to intrigue Bielik though, especially as they finished 13 points off the play-off places. With more consistency, they could have easily been battling their counterparts for a place in the Premier League next term.