COMMENT By Matt Farr
Arsenal could have been set to welcome goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny back into their ranks ahead of the new season, after his loan deal at AS Roma expired.
However, Sky Sports claimed on Monday afternoon that Arsenal had agreed a £14million deal in principle with Italian giants Juventus for the 27-year-old stopper.
The Champions League runners-up are set to hand the Poland international a four-year contract, worth £3.5million per season.
But Arsenal could be making a grave error in letting him leave the club this summer, and here, Football Insider reveals three reasons why:
Despite their concerted efforts to solve their goalkeeping woes, Arsenal still have problems in the position.
The signing of Petr Cech in 2015 proved a masterstroke, but the veteran Premier League stopper has lacked his typically-fluent consistency and reliability over the last year.
Meanwhile, with deputy David Ospina looking likely to depart amid a lack of regular first-team opportunities, his absence could leave a vacancy to fill in the goalkeeping department.
Szczesny has been out of the setup at the Emirates for the two-years, but he deserves an opportunity to demonstrate how far he has come since his departure several years ago.
Age and potential
At 26-years-old, there is still a lot more that Szczesny can offer. He was put in the firing line as Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper, but his move to AS Roma has done him a world of good.
He kept 23 clean sheets from his 81 appearances in all competitions for the Italian club, proving one of Europe’s most consistent performers, and in doing so, silencing a number of his critics.
The fact that Juventus are looking to snap up him up as a potential successor for Gianluigi Buffon, suggests just how well he has taken to life in Serie A, and what talent he still has to offer
Arsenal cannot simply afford to let such talent slip away so easily, given they could come to regret it if they can’t identify a suitable replacement for the ageing Cech.
The decision to axe Szczesny could have been as a result of the new two-year contract extension for Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal have struggled to compete among the elite in the Premier League and in Europe in recent years, and there were doubts that Wenger is still the right man to lead the club to glory.
However, with Wenger set to stay, it may cause several of their current stars to reconsider their positions at the club. If they are hungry for silverware, they may feel a move elsewhere is the best place to get it.
There is a high possibility that Szczesny views Juventus as a better prospect of winning titles than Arsenal, and understandably so, given Juventus’ dominance in domestic competitions of late.
They also reached the Champions League Final last season, only to be defeated by Real Madrid on Saturday in Cardiff.
But Szczesny might not be the only one to fall foul of Wenger’s summer cull of the first-team squad, and fans will be hoping that he doesn’t part with the wrong players.
In other Arsenal transfer news, the Gunners are set to reward this impressive senior player with a new contract.