It seems like the worst-kept secret in European football is that Arsenal's manager, Arsene Wenger, will look to add a new keeper during this summer's transfer window. Wojciech Szczesny has clearly fallen out of favor, while Lukasz Fabianski has been an improvement but is hardly an elite option.
But who might that keeper be? According to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail, one such option is Asmir Begovic of Stoke City. The problem is that Stoke's asking price is, at least in my opinion, pretty absurd.
Arsenal have been quoted £15 million for Asmir Begovic after opening preliminary talks over their interest in the Stoke goalkeeper.
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger wants to sign a new first-choice goalkeeper this summer and has compiled a list of high-profile targets which include Petr Cech, Pepe Reina and Victor Valdes.
But there is a feeling amongst the Arsenal hierarchy that Begovic will be the most obtainable.
Arsenal's management is probably right about one thing (if the rumors are to be believed): Of that list, Begovic will be the easiest to pry away from his club. Stoke remain in danger of being relegated—which would likely put a cap on the return Stoke could hope to get for him—and the team already has youngster Jack Butland as a long-term solution in net.
Begovic has at least one thing going for him compared to the others on that list—he's the youngest. And he's been very good behind the generally stingy Stoke defense this season, with 10 clean sheets in Premier League play.
But is he really worth £15 million? Or are Stoke trying to inflate his value with that price, knowing he isn't worth that amount but establishing the figure in case a bidding war breaks out over the summer?
The answers are no and yes, in case you were wondering.
Arsenal have several needs that need addressing if the team hopes to compete for a Premier League title next season, meaning the club must very carefully select who is worth overspending for and who isn't worth the financial hit.
Surely, the team will look to either upgrade at striker or add another option for Wenger at the position behind Olivier Giroud (because we all know Walcott is at his best out wide). Holding midfielder is a huge need, and central defense could use another solid player to add to the ranks as well.
Plus, if Bacary Sagna departs, finding another right-back will be a must.
We've all heard Wenger will have up to £70 million to spend on improvements this summer—though I'll believe it when I see it—but even that amount of money can go quickly when you're potentially chasing players like Stevan Jovetic.
Adding a top-notch keeper is definitely a priority, but it's not the top priority, meaning £15 million on a solid, but probably not elite keeper like Begovic doesn't feel like the smartest investment for this team. If the keeper market is aggressive and the club takes care of its other needs first, I suppose it would be a justifiable price to pay.
But for now, I'm deeming this price to be excessive. And if there's one thing we know about Arsenal in recent years, it's that the club rarely pays a price that is excessive.
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