By Matt Farr
Borussia Dortmund have joined two other European giants in a race to sign Arsenal outcast Wojciech Szczesny this summer, according to a report.
The 26-year-old is currently on loan at AS Roma until the end of the season, but the Italian club are reportedly unwilling to meet his £13.6million valuation at the end of his deal.
Italian news outlet Gazzetta dello Sport claim that Roma’s reluctance to stump up the cash could pave the way for European heavyweights Dortmund, Napoli and Juventus to pursue a deal.
With the goalkeeper looking likely to return to north London, Arsenal will now brace themselves for a flurry of bids in the summer.
The Poland international goalkeeper has impressed since arriving at Stadio Olimpico for his second consecutive loan spell, and has kept 11 clean sheets from 26 appearances this term.
He had previously kept nine shut-outs from his 42 appearances with the club during the 2015-16 season.
However, despite manager Luciano Spalletti having become a fan of Szczesny, he is unlikely to pursue a permanent deal for the player while Arsenal’s asking-price remains as it is.
Roma also bought Brazilian keeper Alisson last July for £7million and he’s played second fiddle to Szczesny this season.
It means Szczesny’s long-term future appears to lie beyond the Italian capital, and a move to another European club, or a surprise return to Arsenal, is the most likely next step.
The Gunners were understood to have moved on from Szczesny when they signed Petr Cech from Chelsea in 2015, but his recent errors could bode well for Szczesny, should he seek a future back at the club.
Juventus, meanwhile, are eyeing a long-term replacement for veteran stopper Gianluigi Buffon, but until the Italy legend hangs up his boots, Szczesny would likely be restricted to backup duties.
As for Dortmund and Napoli, the pair will be viewed as strong options, given the lack of competition for a first-team place.
Football Insider verdict
Arsenal made the decision to axe Szczesny in favour of a new stopper because of his inconsistencies and unreliability. However, during his near two-year stay at Roma, the Polish stopper has shown considerable improvement, and he deserves another shot at owning the No.1 jersey at the Emirates. However, with Cech and David Ospina the established goalkeepers at the club, it remains to be seen what the future holds for him at Arsenal. Therefore, a move to Dortmund or Napoli could be more beneficial to him. With Napoli, he would fight Pepe Reina for a place in the starting XI, but he would already be familiar with the Italian league and would do a decent job. In Germany, meanwhile, he would become part of a terrific setup under Thomas Tuchel and could easily become one of the Bundesliga’s top goalkeepers.
In other Arsenal transfer news, the club are set to begin talks with this £44million-rated Serie A attacker.