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Kiwior out, Hato in: Arsenal’s defensive overhaul plan revealed

By on February 8, 2024

 

According to Simon Collings of the Evening Standard, Jakub Kiwior’s long-term future at Arsenal may have been decided. He reveals that the Gunners expect offers for the Polish defender as they look to replace him with Ajax’s Jorrel Hato.

The Gunners completed the deal for Kiwior unexpectedly during the winter transfer window in 2023. According to Eurosport, the deal with Spezia was worth approximately £20 million. Few Arsenal fans knew what he was all about, but those who knew him said he was technically gifted, good with the ball at his feet, and versatile enough to play as a holding midfielder, a center back, or a left back.

Unfortunately, one year later, the Pole has been unable to secure a spot in Mikel Arteta’s starting lineup and has had to settle for a backup role. Although he has shown promise at times, Arteta has preferred other players; Gabriel Magalhaes has been reborn at central defense; he cannot be dropped; and Oleksander Zinchenko, despite his defensive struggles, cannot be dropped because of how unique he is with his ability to play the inverted full-back role; Kiwior cannot.

Kiwior’s limited game time at Arsenal has led to speculation about his future at the Emirates. According to Polish journalist Mateusz Borek, who spoke with TVP Sport, Sevilla wanted him on loan last summer, but the transfer move fell through. This winter, a number of Italian teams, most notably AC Milan (as reported by The Mirror), expressed interest in his services, but Arsenal rejected every transfer proposal for his departure.

Jakub Kiwior expected to leave

Speaking on Kiwior’s future, Simon Collings admits in his Evening Standard column that the Gunners were reluctant to let him go due to their thin squad, but he believes they will be willing to let him go in the summer to chase their top defensive target, Jorrel Hato. In that report, he insinuates that finding a buyer for Kiwior isn’t thought to be difficult, as Arsenal believe their defender will be in demand. So, the plan is to sell Kiwior and buy Hato.

Hato has been great for Ajax this season, displaying glimpses of brilliance while playing for the Dutch giants, and several clubs are interested in him. Arsenal want him because he, like Kiwior, can play central defense and left back, and they believe he will be an excellent replacement for Kiwior and a worthy addition because he is a raw diamond—a player they can sign and shape into the defender they want.

Hato is valued at around £19m, therefore he should be in a similar price bracket to Kiwior, meaning the swap shouldn’t cost Arsenal too much money this summer.

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