Who’s Jakub Kiwior and what can he offer Arsenal as £22m deal is suddenly struck

Arsenal are wasting no time in the January transfer market with the north Londoners set to clinch a deal for defender Jakub Kiwior.

The Polish international, 22, is expected to join in a £22m deal as Mikel Arteta plots a final push to claim a first Premier League title since the Gunners' invincible 2003/04 campaign. Arsenal are also expecting to announce a deal for Leandro Trossard later today (January 20).

A marquee defensive acquisition was a high priority for the London club, who have fended off interest from Borussia Dortmund, West Ham United and arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur to land Kiwior.

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Born in Tychy, Southern Poland, Kiwior was on the books at local side GKS Tychy and Belgian giants Anderlecht before making the switch to Slovakia to sign for FK Zeleziarne Podbrezova. The Poland youth star featured in every game during the rest of the 2018/19 campaign but was unable to stave the club away from relegation as Podbrezova finished bottom of the Fortuna Liga.

Kiwior captained Poland's U19s during qualification for the European Championships and earned himself a move back to the top flight of Slovakian football in the summer of 2019. He joined MSK Zilina for a modest £250k fee, making 22 appearances in his debut season at the Stadion pod Dubnom.

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As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Zilina entered liquidation in 2020 and were forced to release 17 first-team stars but Kiwior was kept on as the club finished runners-up in the Fortuna Liga.

The centre-back, who is also comfortable at left-back or sitting in front of the defence, made a £2m move to Spezia in 2021 after impressing heavily for Zilina.

Making his debut for Poland in June 2022, Kiwior played all but three minutes for The White Reds as they reached the Round of 16 at the World Cup.

The left-footed defender will provide adequate cover for Thomas Partey and Oleksandr Zinchenko. Mikel Arteta is unlikely to dismantle the rock-solid partnership William Saliba and Gabriel have formed with Ben White also ahead of Kiwior in the centre-back pecking order.

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