Meet Arsenal’s New Polish Defender: Jakub Kiwior

Arsenal completed the signing of Polish defender Jakub Kiwior from Spezia in a deal worth around £20m on Monday, 23rd January 2023.

The 22-year-old has signed a 4-and-a-half deal — with the option of a further year — at the Emirates.

Kiwior is the Gunners’ second signing of the January 2023 transfer window, after the £27m arrival of Leandro Trossard from Brighton.

In this post, FootballOrbit brings you what you need to know about Arsenal’s latest addition.

Early career

Jakub Piotr Kiwior was born on the 15th of February 2000 in Tychy, a city in southern Poland.

He began the early years of his youth football career at his hometown club, GKS Tychy.

He later moved to Anderlecht’s academy in 2016 and was with the Belgian giants till 2018.

In 2018, Kiwior joined Slovakian club FK Železiarne Podbrezová. It was at this club that he made his senior professional debut.

In total, he made 16 senior team appearances and scored one goal — and regularly featured for the club’s reserve team.

After just less than a year with Železiarne, Kiwior earned a transfer to another Slovakian side MŠK Žilina in August 2019.

He made 61 appearances for the team, scoring 4 goals as well as providing 7 assists.

The Polish defender shone at Žilina, helping the Slovakian minnows reach the qualifying stages of the newly established UEFA Conference League.

He played every minute of his side’s 8 matches before they eventually lost in the final qualifying round.

His impressive performances caught the eye of newly promoted Serie A side Spezia Calcio, who paid €2.2m (£1.9m) to sign him in August 2021 on a 4-year deal.

In his debut season at Spezia, Kiwior was mostly used as a defensive midfielder.

Furthermore, he made a total of 23 appearances in Serie A as Spezia avoided relegation to Serie B — finishing 16th.

In 2022/23, he switched back to his natural centre-back role — starting all of his side’s 17 league fixtures.

Jakub Kiwior

Despite only playing in a European “Top Five” league for the first time in 2021, Kiwior quickly adapted to life in Italy — becoming one of the best defenders in the Serie A.

Most especially, his performances this season have been very formidable. And it didn’t go unnoticed by the top sides, who started jostling for his signature.

He made a total of 43 appearances for Spezia.

On the 23rd of January 2023, Premier League leaders Arsenal signed Jakub Kiwior on a 4-and-a-half year contract.

The deal will cost the Gunners £17.5m, with a further £3.5m expected in add-ons.

Moreso, the young defender will wear the number 15 shirt at the Emirates Stadium.

International career

Jakub Kiwior
Kiwior at the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Kiwior rose through the national youth team ranks for Poland, representing the country from U-16 to U-21 level.

He made his senior international debut for Poland in a 2022/23 UEFA Nations League match against Netherlands on the 11th of June 2022.

5 months later, he was named in Poland’s 26-man squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

He started in all 4 of his country’s games at the tournament, as Poland bowed out at the round of 16.

Playing style of Jakub Kiwior

Jakub Kiwior is a centre-back that can play in a back four and in a back three. Several times, he has also played as a defensive midfielder.

Physically imposing at 6ft 2in, he is very solid when making tackles and is equally aggressive.

Left-footed, Kiwior is very comfortable and confident on the ball and loves passing out from the back.

Additionally, he is capable of picking out long range passes and he’s not afraid of driving the ball forward into space if the opportunity arises.

The Pole is expected to provide competition for places in defence at Arsenal and improve the depth of options available to Mikel Arteta.

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