Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Gunners Must Upgrade at Keeper This Summer

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 13:  Wojciech Szczesny of Arsenal signals during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on January 13, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

One of the popular rumors surrounding Arsenal heading into this summer's transfer window has been that the team will look to upgrade at keeper. While the Gunners have several needs—a true holding midfielder and another striker come to mind—keeper should be a priority. 

One such target could be QPR's Julio Cesar on what promises to be a long shopping list of keepers for Arsene Wenger, according to Steve Bates and Alan Oliver of the Mirror:

Cesar remains a viable prospect for Wenger who is also keen on Manchester City's 6'8" keeper Costel Pantilimon, understudy to Joe Hart.

The 26-year-old Romanian has starred in City's charge to the FA Cup Final and would like regular first-team football.

Scuppered Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet and Swansea's Michel Vorm are also being monitored by the Gunners—who have a long-term interest in Liverpool's Pepe Reina.

Newcastle keeper Tim Krul, who was on Arsenal's list of goalkeeping targets, is likely to see any summer move scuppered by a dislocated shoulder.

Victor Valdes was on that list, but it doesn't look like Barcelona will be letting him leave over the summer. 

What will be interesting for Arsenal is the future of Wojciech Szczesny, who appeared to be out of favor with Wenger after sitting on the sidelines for a month, but who has since returned and posted two straight shutouts. 

Lukasz Fabianski's cracked rib—which should be the name of your next garage band—has given Szczesny a shot to prove he is still an elite keeper, and thus far he's made the most of the opportunity.

If Szczesny continues his strong play—especially with a key game against Manchester United next on the schedule this Sunday—he may just alleviate concerns at the keeper position.

Still, it's hard to imagine Wenger not bringing in a more consistent option or at least some competition for Szczesny.

The question will be where keeper takes priority on Wenger's shopping list. I still believe the top need is a rugged defensive midfielder, and making a splash with a big-name striker is certainly appealing as well. 

Beyond that, solidifying the defense—namely at right-back, as Bacary Sagna is likely playing his last season at the Emirates—should be on the agenda. Adding a keeper to that haul—especially if Wenger is willing to break the bank and chase big names—makes Arsenal's summer shopping list an expensive one.

But Arsenal's priority next year has to be winning a league title, not fighting to stay in a Champions League position once again. And that means the Gunners need more competition at keeper, if not an elite option at the position. 

Given all of the rumors surrounding Arsenal's pursuit of another player at the position, I'd be shocked if Wenger didn't add a fresh face between the pipes this summer. It's not Arsenal's biggest need, but it shouldn't be ignored, either.


Follow TRappaRT on Twitter