Is Wenger grooming Arsenal's Krystian Bielik to replace Per Mertesacker long-term?

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Arsenal’s Krystian Bielik has been featuring at centre-back.

Arsenal youngster Krystian Bielik has told the club’s YouTube Channel he is enjoying his new position at centre-back and highlighted the importance of being able to play in more than one position.

The Poland U17 international joined the Gunners from Legia Warsaw last January, arriving at the club predominantly as a defensive midfielder.

His arrival came at a time in which many supporters and pundits were calling for the club to add a fresh face in that position – and ironically Wenger finally delivered by signing a 17-year-old.

Bielik initially joined the U21 squad, regularly featuring for the youth team while also occasionally training with the first-team and accompanying them on Champions League trips abroad.

He has a bright future at the club, though as revealed in his YouTube interview perhaps not in midfield:

“Sometimes I train with the first-team, but usually with the U21. Now I play centre-back, it’s a new position for me but I know it’s important and very good if a player can play in two positions,” he explained.

“I think it’s a very good experience for me, so we will see what happens later but for now the most important thing is winning in the U21 league.”

Bielik’s change of position could be beneficial to the club in a couple of years’ time, when regular defender Per Mertesacker’s contract expires in the summer of 2017.

The German World Cup winner, 31, is very much entering the twilight of his career and questions are already being asked of his lack of pace and awareness in the Premier League this season.

It’s difficult to envisage Mertesacker staying at Arsenal beyond his current deal, and Wenger could be looking at Bielik as a potential replacement when the time comes.

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