In a candid interview with Sky Sports, Jakub Kiwior talks about his swift ascent in English football, his integration into Arsenal‘s squad, and what it’s like to be guided by manager Mikel Arteta.
Less than a year into his Arsenal career, the ‘softly-spoken centre-back’ reflects on the whirlwind transition from a Serie A relegation battle to a Premier League title challenge. With a genuine smile, Kiwior shares his emotions and experiences with Sky Sports, shedding light on his remarkable journey.
“The emotions were high from the very beginning – even from the moment I heard the rumours that they were interested in me,” he says. “That alone was huge for me. After that, I was very happy to sign.”
One of the defining moments in Kiwior’s Arsenal initiation was the opportunity to witness the thrilling 3-2 victory over Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium, just a day before his transfer was confirmed.
That electrifying match gave him a first-hand glimpse of the excitement he was signing up for.
“The emotions were high then, too,” Kiwior adds, his smile revealing his genuine joy at being part of the squad as Oleksandr Zinchenko told him at the time, “If you are already with us, you are already with us.”
While Arsenal had been monitoring his progress, the transfer came as a surprise to most. Kiwior, at the age of 22, arrived with a relatively low profile, although Robert Lewandowski had already sung his praises. Only six months prior, he had made his debut for the Polish national team. Before moving to Italy in 2021, he plied his trade at Zilina in Slovakia.
Upon his arrival, Kiwior accepted Mikel Arteta‘s decision to gradually introduce him to Premier League football despite his desperation to play. Moreover, his lack of English language skills presented an additional challenge. It took two months of patience before he made his debut for Arsenal.
“I wanted to play minutes as soon as possible but I was told that I needed to be calm, that I needed time to settle in,” he explains, relying on an interpreter as he continues his English language learning journey. “Those two months were important for me. It was a big change. I just tried to be focused in the training sessions and to get settled. The minutes eventually came, so it was a very valuable time.
“Every match is important, but it was good for me that I played well against Chelsea,” he reflects. “It motivated me to continue working hard.” And, capping off the season, Kiwior scored his first goal for the club in the last match against Wolves. “Of course, we were already winning, but it’s always important to score your first goal for a club.”
Mikel Arteta expressed his confidence in Kiwior’s potential: “He is a player that I really like, that’s why I signed him. He has the potential, at his age, to be great.”
However, Kiwior remains grounded. “It’s very good to hear such positive words from your coach,” he acknowledges. “It obviously helps to bolster your confidence. But I try not to think about it too much because I know it can have the countereffect as well.”
Kiwior’s humility and determination resonate well with Arteta‘s vision. He praises the manager’s attention to detail, citing the creative and motivational team talks featured in the “All or Nothing” documentary as an example of Arteta’s unique approach.
“It’s very different to what I was used to,” Kiwior notes. “Coming here, it’s the first time I’ve seen this final meeting before going out on the pitch look like it does here. It’s certainly something new.”