Arsenal FC: Gunners Should Sign English Goalkeeper Instead of Hugo Lloris

Rohan SubraSenior Analyst IJuly 11, 2012

KRAKOW, POLAND - JUNE 22:  Jack Butland during an England training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 quarter final match with Italy on June 22, 2012 in Krakow, Poland.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

It was one of those stats that slightly surprises you at first, but when you think about it, it makes more sense as you can come up with no evidence to disprove it.

That was the case when I was browsing through some Arsenal statistics and I saw that Wojciech Szczesny had played every single minute of the Gunners' Premier League football last season. Lukasz Fabianski didn't get subbed on even once, and Manuel Almunia—well, you know...wasn't needed at the club.

Szczesny was thrust into the spotlight suddenly and had to adjust fast, as his first game was an encounter against Manchester United in the 10-11 season. He did just that, cementing his spot as a top EPL goalkeeper and consolidating his starting spot.

He has the attributes of a talented player, and isn't that kind of up-and-comer who people label as someone with potential. He has used his talent well so far, and the small amount of criticism over his immaturity is in focus more off the field than on it.

It surprises me that a player like Szczesny may be replaced with Hugo Lloris, the French goalkeeper who currently plays for Lyon. The young Pole is already a great player, not just a lump of talent whose potential may or may not play out correctly at some point in the future.

Plus, if Daily Mail reports are to be believed, then the services of Lloris would cost Arsene Wenger £16 million, an enormous sum for a goalkeeper.

A much better investment would be 19-year-old Englishman Jack Butland, who plays for Birmingham, who were relegated from the Premier League two seasons ago (but the phrase "Carling Cup" will make Gooners remember them all too well).

Butland, from Bristol, started his senior career at Birmingham in 2010, but was loaned out to Cheltenham Town twice in the last two years. He won the Birmingham Young Player of the Year award in the 2009-10 season.

Butland is tall at 6'4" (1.93 m), and has the makings of a future star: he has fast reflexes, long reach, and fantastic athletic ability. 

The youngster went to this year's European Championships, an impressive feat at such a tender age. Though he didn't get any playing time, his selection gave an indication of what is to come from the young stopper.

Another Daily Mail piece says that Tottenham are trying to land the Birmingham man for £7 million, which means he will cost significantly less than Lloris.

Since Szczesny does not need to be replaced for the time being—even though that is what a Lloris deal would mean—the Gunners should develop Butland a bit more, so he won't have to play immediately. He could be a substitute who gets his match experience in smaller matches, like the Carling Cup ties.

It's a waste of £16 million if Arsenal chase Lloris, having a perfectly good starting goalkeeper. With Lukasz Fabianski saying he wants to leave, a backup is required, and Butland fits the bill completely.

Next season, I hope to see Wojciech Szczesny in goal, not Hugo Lloris. But it would be wonderful to have Jack Butland backing him up.