There are questions galore for the Gunners this summer, mostly to do with who will stay at the club. There will be shake-ups before the end of the summer with players both leaving and arriving. However, despite appearing calm on the surface, one position which may see the greatest change is between the sticks. Here are the four biggest questions about Arsenal’s goalkeepers.
Arsenal’s Goalkeepers and What the Future Holds
Where/When Will Ospina and Szczesny Move?
I suppose the ‘where’ is a known quantity for both these players, linked with Fenerbache and Juventus respectively. However, ‘when’ is still unknown to the general public.
As far as the Polish international goes, he didn’t even get an invite to the preseason tour, all but confirming his impending exit. For weeks now we have heard about how the two clubs only have to put the finishing touches on a $13 million move. Although, perhaps Arsenal should ask for more than that for Buffon’s successor.
The Colombian did join Petr Cech and Emiliano Martinez on the tour, but that was a bit of a surprise move. Prior to that, his move to the Turkish League seemed all but completed (for a paltry $4.5 million).
No doubt that Ospina won’t be leaving until after the team comes back from China, but again the question is how long will that move take to materialize?
Now, in addition to Fenerbache, it appears that Claudio Ranieri wants the Arsenal back-up at Nantes. That may create a bidding war, but those tend to take time, creating more questions about the timetable of the proposed move.
Either way, Arsenal’s goalkeepers may find themselves elsewhere next season.
How Long Can Petr Cech Play at the Highest Level?
Goalkeepers have a long history of aging like wine, and the Czech international is no different. However, every player has an expiration date, and the Arsenal number one is no different.
While there are players like Brad Friedel who was still wearing the gloves at age 43, most fall by the wayside well before their 40th birthday. Therefore, Cech’s longevity is a bit difficult to predict.
Even now cracks seem to be forming, as Petr Cech was just as bad as the rest of the squad at times last year. There is also the question of injury; thirty-somethings take longer to heal than twenty-somethings, so it is critical for the player to stay fit.
Especially considering who is his most likely back-up for next season.
Can Emiliano Martinez Be An Effective Number Two?
The Argentine is still only 24 but has already been at Arsenal for five years. In all that time he has only made 13 appearances in all competitions (six in the league, five in League Cup and twice in the Champions League).
He has gotten minutes in Australia, but that is hardly the same level of competition as at the English top flight. Let’s also not forget he was between the sticks in the 3-0 loss to Crystal Palace in April.
24 is not old, especially for a keeper, but turning from the reserve team’s number one into a solid back-up for the Cups is easier said than done. He would have to find the best form of his career and fast.
Of all of Arsenal’s goalkeepers, he seems the least likely to be the next number one.
Where Will The Transfer Funds Go?
The sales of Szczesny and Ospina should net Arsenal about $18 million. With Lacazette already signed, they would likely use those funds for another target.
It is well known that Wenger wants Monaco’s Thomas Lemar. Although, with Alexis still at the club, that move may not materialize. It makes no sense to buy a player to sit on the bench.
So, that money could potentially be used to bring in a new number two. The only question is who?
Possibly the most exciting young keeper in England, Jordan Pickford, has already moved to Everton. While there were no links between Arsenal and Pickford, no doubt the Gunners would have loved to bring him on board.
Gianluigi Donnarumma temporarily looked like he was leaving Milan, but ended up signing a new, long-term deal just one week ago.
Arsene Wenger could also look to Udinese, where they have two great prospects vying for minutes. Simeone Scuffet was once touted as the next Gigi Buffon. Meanwhile, Alex Meret is raising eyebrows after playing for SPAL in Serie B.
The manager is also known for raiding his homeland for talent. One young shot-stopper who has impressed in France is Alban Lafont. He is still only 18 years old but has established himself as Toulouse’s first choice keeper.
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