Arsenal ready to clinch transfer deal within hours after breakthrough in talks - sources
By Editor Wayne Veysey | 17 years experience of breaking major stories at Evening Standard, PA and Goal, including exclusives like this
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Arsenal are confident of sealing an agreement for Wojciech Szczesny to return to Roma for a second consecutive season, Football Insider sources understand.
The Arsenal academy graduate has completed a season-long loan at Roma, who have an option to buy him this summer.
A well-placed source has told Football Insider that Arsenal are in talks with the Serie A club for Szczesny to return to the Italian capital for a second consecutive season even though the Giallorossi have agreed a deal to sign Brazilian keeper Allison.
The Gunners are hopeful an agreement can be reached swiftly for Roma to pay the majority of the goalkeeper’s £45,000-a-week wages.
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Intriguingly, Roma are in talks to loan Allison to Fiorentina next season just weeks after signing him for £5.7million.
This will pave the way for Szczesny to continue as the number one at the Italian club, who have qualified for next season’s Champions League.
Szczesny last week hit out at Arsene Wenger and his coaching staff by claiming he has learned more in four months under Roma manager Luciano Spalletti than he did in 10 years at Arsenal.
The Poland international spoken warmly of Spalletti, while aiming a thinly veiled criticism of the methods of Wenger and Arsenal head goalkeeping coach Gerry Peyton.
“Spalletti highlights the importance of having good feet when playing football,” Szczesny said, as quoted by Italian publication Gazzetta. “One day we spent 45 minutes practicing just goal kicks.
“If I stay at Rome, I’ll continue to grow and if I return to Arsenal, I’ll treasure my experience in Italy, even though I’ve learned more in fourth months with Spalletti than I did in 10 years in England.”
Szczesny joined Arsenal as a 16-year-old and established himself in the first team at the age of 20 before joining Roma last summer when Petr Cech was signed for £11million from Chelsea.
Now aged 26, the Poland international has two years remaining on his Gunners contract but he has risked delivering a wedge between himself and his parent club with his comments.
Peyton has been the goalkeeping coach at Emirates Stadium for 13 years and has been a trusted member of Wenger’s backroom staff throughout Szczesny’s 10-year association with the London club.
Szczesny’s withering comments about the Arsenal coaching compare starkly with his views of Roma goalkeeping coach Guido Nanni.
“Nanni is a great professional and I like working with him because I am never bored,” Szczesny said, as quoted by Gazzetta. “We have a great friendship.
“If I took a step forward in my career, it’s because of him.”
The Pole is rated in the £10million bracket by Arsenal and the Londoners could cash in on him before he enters the final two years of his current deal.