Charlton Athletic are delighted to welcome Krystian Bielik to The Valley on a season-long loan deal from Arsenal.
The talented 20-year-old is Lee Bowyer’s fourth signing of the summer and someone who Charlton have been pursuing for nearly a month.
Bielik, who played 10 games in the Championship with Birmingham City in 2016/17, can play at both centre-half and as a defensive midfielder and Bowyer is delighted to add another player of quality to his squad, following the summer acquisitions of Lyle Taylor, Darren Pratley and Jed Steer.
He said: “He is someone that can protect the back four. He’s good on the ball, strong and he’s someone that can fill in at centre-half as well. He’s a bit like Ez [Ezri Konsa], he can comfortably play in both positions. He’s obviously good on the ball, you don’t play for Arsenal unless you can play, so I know he’s going to be another great addition to the squad.
“I couldn’t tell you how many phone calls [Head of Recruitment] Steve Gallen made to Arsenal to try and get this one over the line. It’s been going on for a while now, so we’re delighted to get him here. Obviously, there were other clubs involved trying to get him, like all the others that we’re trying to bring in so he’s no exception but that’s what happens when you are trying to bring in good players.”
Bielik wants to show Charlton fans who he is. He said: “It’s a big stadium, a massive stadium, I didn’t know [how big the stadium was]. It looks good and I’m looking forward to playing at this stadium and doing my best here.
“I want to show everyone that I can play football. It’s a good opportunity for me to play here because I know people are going to watch me and I’m under pressure. That’s what I like, I want to do my best.”
Steve Gallen said: “He’s a good, athletic, strong, quick, powerful football player. That’s the thing Lee Bowyer kept asking me all the way through ‘Can he play Steve? Can he play?’ He can play.
“He can play at centre-back, Lee sometimes plays three at the back, so he can fit into that quite easily and can also play in central midfield, which is where he started off his career.
“We have a good relationship with Arsenal. Other clubs were in for him but I also think perseverance helped. Me and Lee kept persevering all the time with Arsenal. I think they got fed up with us in the end and said ‘Go and have him’, we’re really pleased to get him. What they recognise is the size of the club but also how we look after the players. Outside of the club and where they live and how we take care of their boys. I think with that and Lee Bowyer and obviously the size of the club is the reason we got Krystian.”
Bielik stands at 6ft 2in tall and has been capped at international level by Poland at U16, U17, U18 and U19 level. After playing five games for Legia Warsaw, he moved to Arsenal just after his 17th birthday and has since had loan spells at Birmingham City and Walsall.
Bowyer added that the club’s summer transfer business is far from done. He said: “We’ll be looking to bring in a couple more but again they have to be right. We’ve waited for Krystian for probably three or four weeks we’ve been knocking on the door for him. We know who we want and it’s just about biding our time to get the right ones through the door.”