This weekend's Premier League fixture between Arsenal and QPR presented an interesting scenario between both sets of goalposts.
At the Arsenal end, Wojciech Szczesny continued his renaissance with a sturdy display that was highlighted by an outstanding save to deny Loic Remy. Since being recalled after an injury to Lukasz Fabianski, Szczesny has displayed improved concentration and confidence.
At the QPR end, one man was conspicuous by his absence: Julio Cesar. After the match, QPR manager Harry Redknapp confirmed the Brazilian had a minor back injury, but followed up with a glowing appraisal of the goalkeeper's ability (via London24.com):
I don’t see Julio being here next year. I think he is a player for a top Italian team, a top Spanish team or a top Premier League team. I think he is good enough to play anywhere.
Julio will look to move on. He’s in the Brazilian [national] team, he is not a player for the Championship.
He has got a World Cup coming up. He is going to want to play in the Premier League or a big league abroad.
Cesar's omission was particularly intriguing in light of the fact that prior to the game, Redknapp had joked that Arsene Wenger could ask him about the player when the two met at Loftus Road (via express.co.uk).
Arsenal need a goalkeeper. Szczesny requires competition to produce his best form, and his understudy Lukas Fabianski is prone to both injury and errors.
Arsene Wenger will be loathe to bring in a young goalkeeper who could stifle Szczesny's development. Although there are concerns over the Pole's form this season, his long-term potential is not in doubt. Remarkably, Szczesny is still only 23, and some way from his peak as a goalkeeper.
Julio Cesar is fully 10 years older than Arsenal's current keeper, could pass the benefit of his experience on to to Szczesny and would not block the younger player's path for years to come.
Arsene Wenger has considered signing an older goalie to challenge Szczesny before. In 2010, he was close to signing Fulham's veteran stopper Mark Schwarzer, but in the end, the clubs could not agree on a fee and the deal fell through, much to Schwarzer's disappointment.
Wenger will hope for more luck this time around. With QPR's relegation already confirmed, they will be keen to shed some of the higher earners from the wage bill. Cesar seems an obvious place to start, and Arsenal an obvious destination.
In the short term, Cesar would be an upgrade for the Gunners. According to Squakwa.com, Cesar makes an average of 2.55 saves between each goal conceded. Szczesny makes just 1.78. He's also shown a remarkable ability to win the ball in his own penalty box, succeeding in 100 percent of his aerial claims.
The Brazilian would also have the motivation of a World Cup in his home nation to aim for at the end of the season.
Julio Cesar would ensure that Arsenal's goalkeeping position is in safe hands.
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