By Matt Farr
Arsenal are keeping a close eye on £84million-rated goalkeeper Jan Oblak, according to a report.
Goal claim manager Arsene Wenger sees the Atletico Madrid shot stopper as the ideal signing but will not pay anywhere near his £84million million release clause.
Wenger is a known fan of Oblak, and the report states that the Gunners have approached Atletico about the goalkeeper on a number of occasions before.
But Atletico Madrid remain uninterested in parting ways with one of their star performers.
The Slovenia international became La Liga’s most expensive goalkeeper of all-time when he joined Atletico in 2014, and has now established himself as one of the best in his position across the whole of Europe.
Oblak will evaluate his options at the end of the season, and could consider a move elsewhere. However, Atletico boss Diego Simeone is keen for him to remain at Vicente Calderon, which is the most likely option.
Wenger, meanwhile, has proven reluctant in the past to spend big on players. His spending has improved in recent years, with the acquisitions of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka – all costing above £30 million each.
But Atletico’s stance is clear, and they will not listen to any offers below Oblak’s valuation.
Arsenal finally ended their goalkeeping woes when they signed Petr Cech from Chelsea in 2015. But at 34-years-old, his advancing years will be a concern for Wenger.
David Ospina has yet to convince the Gunners boss of a greater role than that of Cech’s understudy, while the long-term future of previous no.1 Wojciech Szczesny growing increasingly uncertain.
The Polish goalkeeper is currently enjoying a second loan spell at AS Roma, but he will have to fight for his place in the Gunners team upon his return.
Despite his asking-price, 23-year-old Oblak looks to be Arsene Wenger’s preferred choice to replace Petr Cech as Arsenal’s next long-term no.1 goalkeeper.
Football Insider verdict:
While a move for a younger goalkeeper may be on the cards at some stage, it is hard to see how Jan Oblak will be an Arsenal player next summer. A deal doesn’t tick enough of the boxes. Petr Cech is getting older, but he is still by far Arsenal’s best choice for the No1 jersey. Wojciech Szczesny may well come back as an understudy to the Premier League veteran, but Cech still has a few years left in him at the top level. Arsenal may dip into the market again next summer to touch up several areas of their squad – depending on where they finish in the league – but £84 million on one player doesn’t fit in with Arsene Wenger’s transfer habits.