With Arsenal reportedly accepting a £2 million bid from Premier League outfit Sunderland for Vito Mannone, as well as releasing two young shot stoppers in James Shea and Reice Charles-Cook, Arsenal look set to bring in a keeper for the senior team and will most likely focus on the development of Argentine youth international, Damian Martinez in the youth ranks, with the promotion of the latter firmly in mind.
Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski both showed in patches why they deserve to be the number 1 at Arsenal. But neither firmly cemented their place in the starting line up, due to injuries and lack of form. Arsenal have been longing for an expert player between the sticks and have been left wanting by too many inconsistent performances from the current group of keepers.
Fabianski was solid when he returned from a long injury lay off and deserved his place over a hot and cold Szczesny, with the current number 1 taking over from the older Pole in Fabianski, when yet another injury disrupted his position in the team. By going off last seasons form, the two come out rather even, with Fabianski only playing a handful of games and with Szczesny playing the majority of the games and although making some quality saves, the Pole made one too many mistakes along the way.
The time is right for Arsenal to spend some money on an established star. With speculation rife about Brazil stopper, Julio Cesar, making the short journey from Loftus Road to The Emirates, it would appear as though the current QPR man would no doubt be Arsenal’s premier stickman.
It’s a bitter-sweet situation for Szczesny as he may very well benefit from a world class keeper in order to progress his game. Although it would relegate him to the bench, I believe it would make the young Polish international very much aware that he must lift his game, ten-fold, in order to overtake Cesar as the club’s number 1.
A signing of such magnitude may hail the end of Fabianski, although he would be a quality number 2 or 3 and may be called upon due to injury concerns or rotation during cup competitions. He may look at the situation is a positive that the club are still willing to keep him on their books, signaling they have not lost faith entirely with the number 21.
Returning to the dilemma over Szczesny, the youngster still has time to become Arsenal’s number 1, after the departure of incoming Julio Cesar. With Arsenal obviously keeping the faith with back-up Fabianski, as well as maintaining young Argentine, Damian Martinez, perhaps Szczesny could benefit from a 6 month to a full season loan period with a club at a high level where he will be able to play first team football each week.
Something Arsenal cannot guarantee him if the impending deal with Cesar is agreed. Fabianski would slot into second choice, with Martinez covering for third choice. A Premier League team who need a quality keeper such as Cardiff, Everton or West Ham, would certainly keep Szczesny on form for when he is to return to Arsenal.
This option, as well as stepping down to the number 2 choice under Cesar would both be helpful to the development of Arsenal’s long term goalkeeper.