Even after a successful season that will likely finish with Champions League qualification and – hopefully – an FA Cup final win, it is quite evident that Arsenal still have much to do before they are considered bona fide champions league contenders.
Arsene Wenger broke with some long held habits last summer and brought in some world class players such as the mercurial Alexis Sanchez who has been outstanding at times during this campaign. But there are a number of positions in the Arsenal squad that need strengthening and goalkeeper has been one that has been most talked about.
The Gunners started the season with Polish international Wojciech Szczesny as the number one goalkeeper but after being discovered having a sneaky cigarette after a match Wenger dropped the error-prone goalie and made summer signing David Ospina his first choice.
Wojciech Szczesny has been dropped as Arsenal’s number one man between the sticks after a recent drop in form coupled with a smoking issue.
Ospina has been a revelation since he was given the chance and could well do a very good job next season but Arsenal definitely need to keep their options open.
Colombia’s goalkeeper David Ospina, now Arsenal’s number one man, saves a goal shot by Uruguay’s Edinson Cavani. [REUTERS/Michael Dalder]
So who could be lining up at The Emirates next season?
The main name on everyone’s lips is Petr Cech. Confirmed to be leaving Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, Wenger is known to admire the Chelsea number one.
Probably the best goalkeeper in the division a few seasons ago, Cech has been sidelined by Mourinho this term with Thibaut Courtois taking over keeper duties.
The Chelsea legend could be wearing Arsenal colours next season. [Picture: Getty]
It is probably fair to say that Cech is not the keeper he was and even with all his experience – and League champions’ medals – he is not a signing that the Arsenal faithful would get too excited about.
An even bigger name linked with a move to north London is Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas.
The best in the business three or four seasons ago, a drop in form for his club side – and a spell on the bench while Mourinho was in charge – alongside some woeful performances for Spain means that there are question marks over his worth.
The Real Madrid legend could be wearing Arsenal colours next season. [Picture: Getty]
After winning just about everything going would Casillas be able to motivate himself to up his game for a last hurrah in the English Premier League?
One keeper that has been linked with a move to Arsenal but would be less of a marquee signing is Stoke City’s Asmir Begovic.
Seemingly constantly rumoured to be on his way to Manchester United, the Bosnian goalie already knows the Premier League and would be an excellent addition to the Arsenal squad.
Asmir Begovic could be wearing Arsenal colours next season. [Picture: Getty]
Whether or not Begovic would automatically displace Ospina as first choice is open to debate but his arrival would make Arsenal exceptionally strong in that position.
There have been other keepers plying their trade in the top European leagues that have been linked with a move to Arsenal such as Fiorentina’s Neto.
A successful season in Serie A as well as a very decent run in the Europa League has brought the Brazilian to Wenger’s attention but there is not a long history of keepers swapping the Italian league for England.
Wenger could attempt to repeat the success of Jens Lehman by bringing a German keeper to the club and both Bayer Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno and Mainz 05’s Loris Karis have been linked with the club.
Both goalies are young and would appeal to Wenger’s transfer ideals of spending prudently on promising young players rather than paying over the odds for aged stars.
David Ospina might well count himself unlucky to have to fend off any new arrival after his performances in the latter half of the season but it is likely that Wenger will be forced to bring new blood into the club. Time will tell whether the newcomer will be a back-up squad player or the main man.
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