By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Wojciech Szczesny wants to quit Arsenal on a high after winning an FA Cup winner’s medal on what is likely to have been his final appearance for the club, Football Insider sources understand.
The Polish goalkeeper kept a clean sheet in the Gunners’ 4-0 victory over Aston Villa on Saturday after being preferred to their regular goalkeeper David Ospina.
But Szczesny is still unhappy at Emirates Stadium over losing his Premier League first-team spot and is aware that he will slip even further down the pecking order if the Gunners clinch the signing of Petr Cech.
Arsenal are in talks with Chelsea about signing Cech this summer and, as revealed by Football Insider, have agreed personal terms with the long-serving Blues’ ‘keeper after being given permission by their west London rivals to discuss terms with him.
Szczesny has made Arsenal aware that he is unhappy at playing second fiddle to Ospina, who has been the club’s No1 for Premier League and Champions League matches since de-throning his younger rival at the turn of the year.
The Poland international, 25, has made only five first-team appearances – each of them in the FA Cup – since the Gunners’ 2-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day, in which he was at fault for both of the home side’s goals.
Despite Szczesny being given the nod by Arsene Wenger for Saturday’s showpiece, and being told that the manager retains total belief in him and does not want to sell, senior staff believe the goalkeeper needs to rediscover his hunger after five years at the top level.
Szczesny, who made his first-team debut aged 19 and was installed as Arsenal’s regular No1 when he was 20, still has three years remaining on his contract and the club know they can command a £10million-plus fee if they sell the Academy graduate this summer.
As revealed by Football Insider, Liverpool are keeping close tabs on the Poland international as they target a senior ‘keeper who can compete with Simon Mignolet for the No1 status.
Wenger wants to sign Cech from Chelsea and make him the new Arsenal first-choice shot-stopper, with Ospina and Szczesny vying to deputise for one of the outstanding goalkeepers of the Premier League era.
However, Arsenal are unlikely to block Szczesny’s desire to move if they are successful in their Cech pursuit.