Former Arsenal youngster, Krystian Bielik, picked up a nasty eye injury during the week when playing for Derby, but that didn’t stop him picking up the Man of the Match award.

Krystian Bielik Derby Telegraph
Derby Telegraph

Bielik picked up the eye injury you can see above in Derby’s 1-0 win over Bournemouth on Tuesday night.

Jack Wilshere, fresh from signing for the Cherries, was a second half substitute, replacing David Brooks after 77 minutes. They were the first minutes Wilshere has played since he played 90- minutes for West Ham against Hull on 22 September 2020.

As for Bielik, Derby’s Head of Recruitment has been speaking about how they signed the Arsenal youngster.

“The Academy scout very young, but as a first-team scouting department we start at under-18s,” said Derby’s Head of Recruitment, Joe McClaren in an interview with Luke Ingram of Rampage magazine.

“We look at teams lower than us for buying options, but we also look at teams bigger than us for dropouts or future loans, which we have been successful with in the past.

“The reason we like to track them from young is you get a good idea of their trajectory. Have they got more in them or are they plateauing? Why have they done well as a youngster and is there still something we can get from them?

“Also, to see their character as well coming through the ranks. Have they played in big games and how have they reacted to them?

“We track those players for a long time and Krystian is one of them.

“He went to Arsenal when he was 16 and as soon as he touched down in England, we knew about him and we watched him. At the time, we were not watching him to sign as a permanent but definitely as a loan option.

“He then went to Charlton Athletic on loan in League One, which is another league we have to cover strongly. We watched him in big games where he stepped up and brought the best out of his teammates,” McClaren recalled.

“Phillip Cocu came in (as Derby manager) and a holding midfielder was someone he needed. We presented Krystian and at the time he was in a crossroads at Arsenal and the permanent (transfer) option came up.

“Profile-wise, it fit perfectly. He was a Polish international, had just played in the Under-21 European Championships and, value-wise, we had good pedigree.

“With Krystian, we knew that he was well known all over Europe. So in terms of value protection, you know that people all over are watching him. An Italian team (AC Milan) were in for him at the time as well, so you knew everyone had eyes on him.

“Overall, it was a great profile and when it became apparent that we could do it on a permanent, it was a no-brainer.”

Arsenal reportedly wanted Bielik to sign a new deal with the club but it seems that was never going to be an option for Bielik who said in the summer of 2019 before he left, “My future is unknown but there is one thing I can say for sure: I will definitely not go back to the Arsenal U-23 team.

“At this stage it wouldn’t make sense.

“If I do not receive the possibility to join the first team permanently, I will have to look for other solutions.

“I feel like a senior player now so I want to play senior football.

“This is, however, not the right moment to discuss these issues as I want to be 100 per cent focused on the European Championship.”

Bielik arrived at Arsenal for £2.03m from Legia Warsaw at the start of 2015. Although his sale to Derby represents a healthy profit for Arsenal, there was a hint of regret that we couldn’t get Bielik to renew with the club.

Arsenal also had to pay Legia Warsaw €500,000 from his sale.

The fee, which is believed to under Derby’s previous record of £8m which they paid for Matej Vydra, will rise to £10m with performance-related add-ons.

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