Who is new Arsenal signing Krystian Bielik?

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OK, it's not the big-name holding midfielder or the centre-back cover that Arsenal fans wanted, but Arsene Wenger has completed his first January signing.

17-year-old Polish defensive midfielder Krystian Bielik has officially joined the Gunners from Legia Warsaw. While you may expect Bielik to learn his trade in the development squad, at least initially, it's been reported that the Polish teenager will be fast tracked into the first-team.

So, apart from the fact he's been dubbed 'the new Vieira', just what kind of player is Bielik?

Wenger has moved fast to snap up one of the rising stars of Polish football. In fact, Bielik has made just six appearances for Polish Champions Legia Warsaw.

While he impressed in these brief outings, it's his work for the Polish under-17s that has caught Wenger's eye.

A summer move from Lech Poznan to Legia Warsaw saw Bielik fast-tracked by Legia boss Henning Berg (the former-Manchester United defender) from the club's reserves to the first-team.

What does his former manager think of him?

"He's a physical player with good skills," Berg said. "He has a very good understanding of the game and match mentality. Krystian is quite far ahead of other players at his age."

For a player with 'no weaknesses' in the eye of Berg, it's telling how often people who watch him mention his rapid development.

Wenger has been so impressed with him that the 17-year-old will be straight into the Arsenal first-team mix for a starting place in their next game - Brighton away in the FA Cup.

"He's a defensive midfielder, 6ft 2in, he has a good energy level and technical level," Wenger told reporters earlier this week.

"It's less than £2m. It's an awful lot of money for a player if he doesn't succeed. If he does succeed then it's cheap."

And when asked if he would be in the picture for a first-team squad place, Wenger replied: "Yes."

Watch him in action here

The comparisons with Vieira delineate from his height, position and composure on the ball. Now he's following in the Frenchman's footsteps in north London the hype will only go up a notch.

Polish football expert Ryan Hubbard writes for the Daily Mirror: "Standing at over six-feet tall, and with an ability to accurately pepper long-balls across the field, Arsenal's repeated interest has understandably earned Bielik comparisons with former Gunners' captain Patrick Vieira.

"That isn't where the similarities end either, with the youngster's ability to control the pace of the game from his position in front of the back-four already standing out as a key strength."

Despite interest from Hamburg and Roma, it's been clear since last year that Bielik has had his heart set on a move to the Emirates Stadium.

In this interview with, Bielik revealed his respect for Wenger and the key reason behind his move - opportunity for playing time.

"I believe in him, because I know that he is not afraid to play the youngsters," Bielik said. "Remember in the game against Galatasaray in the Champions League, in which he put three 17-year-olds onto the pitch in the second half."

And finally, here's a little bit of fun for you - Bielik means 'Bald Eagle' in Polish, at least according to Google Translate!

So, the nickname. We've got a few boring ones at the Emirates - The Ox, Welbz, these are hardly original and certainly not on the level of the Big Friendly German Per Mertesacker. We've got a real chance here - the New Vieira or the Bald Eagle?

Shave your head Krystian, and let's go with the Bald Eagle!

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