Rewind back to late September 2009.
"Vito played a fantastic game on Saturday and consistency is the first sign of quality," Wenger said when asked to comment on the Italian's Man of the Match performance vs. Fulham, via Neil Maidment at Reuters. "He has the potential to be a very good goalkeeper."
Andy Johnson would have scored a hat trick if it wasn't for the brilliance of Mannone.
"That's the best game I've ever played," remarked Mannone, who made eight saves, via Matt Barlow at The Daily Mail.
The week before, Mannone denied Wigan Athletic six times, so in the span of a week he had registered 14 saves over two Premier League games whilst having two clean sheets.
Instead of emerging as a challenger to Gianluigi Buffon's position in the Italian national team, Mannone has fallen on hard times.
|ERROR LEADING TO GOAL||Arsenal 3-1 Birmingham City ||October 17, 2009|
|ERROR LEADING TO GOAL||Arsenal 2-2 West Ham United||October 25, 2009|
|ERROR LEADING TO GOAL ||Belarus 3-0 Italy||October 12, 2010|
|ERROR LEADING TO GOAL||Olympiakos 3-1 Arsenal||December 6, 2011|
|ERROR LEADING TO GOAL||Hull City 3-1 Ipswich Town||January 7, 2012|
|ERROR LEADING TO GOAL||Portsmouth 2-0 Hull City||March 27, 2012|
|ERROR LEADING TO GOAL||Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal||September 23, 2012|
|ERROR LEADING TO GOAL||Norwich City 1-0 Arsenal||October 20, 2012|
Conceding eight goals due to mistakes over four years isn't a major concern for a goalkeeper playing 55 games per season, but Mannone averages 14 games per season since the 2009-10 campaign.
"I would have coaches and everyone around me trying to pick me up and asking 'Why aren't you smiling?'" Mannone told the Hull Daily Mail. "Everything seemed to go against me and that's when you're thinking about negatives."
Wenger was open about Mannone's situation last September.
"I was quite surprised that no club went for him as I would have let him go because we have many keepers," Wenger admitted to Henry Winter at The Telegraph, shortly after praising Mannone for showing mental toughness on loan at Hull.
What Paolo Di Canio would have said: "Mannone is as useless as Massimo Taibi and we would have sold him but no club wanted him—not even as third-choice."
Mannone isn't an isolated example of a goalkeeper consistently costing Arsenal.
Wojciech Szczesny, Łukasz Fabiański, Manuel Almunia and Richard Wright spring to mind.
Maciej Szczesny's frustrations regarding how his son, Wojciech, is being handled by Wenger gives you an idea about the blasé approach Le Professeur has towards goalkeepers.
Since 2002, Wenger hasn't signed a goalkeeper who was featured in a Ligue 1 or 2 Team of the Year.
|LIGUE 1 OR 2 TEAM OF THE YEAR||YEAR||SIGNED DIRECTLY?|
|Emmanuel Adebayor (Metz)||2003||No, signed via Monaco (2006)|
|Sébastien Squillaci (Monaco)||2004||No, signed via Sevilla (2010)|
|Bacary Sagna (Auxerre)||2007||Yes|
|Samir Nasri (Marseille)||2007||Yes|
|Laurent Koscielny (Tours)||2009||No, signed via Lorient (2010)|
|Marouane Chamakh (Bordeaux)||2010||Yes|
|Olivier Giroud (Tours and Montpellier)||2009 and 2012||Yes (via Montpellier)|
The two big misses are Grégory Coupet and Hugo Lloris.
Coupet was famous for his role in Lyon's dynasty, and Lloris became a three-time Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year.
When Petr Čech was at Rennes (he didn't make a Ligue 1 or 2 Team of the Year), Wenger failed to project the Czech's upside but managed to accurately gauge that Alex Song (Bastia) and Gaël Clichy (Cannes) would develop into top-flight footballers.
Wenger's weakness in the transfer market is finding world-class goalkeepers.
Read the opening paragraph via The Guardian on May 24, 2001 and spot what's wrong with it:
Arsenal have signed goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek from Feyenoord, the Dutch club have announced.
When asked if Dudek was on his way to Highbury, a Feyenoord spokesman said: "That is correct—Arsenal have said it."
Dudek never joined the Gunners as Wenger sunk the deal telling Sky Sports: "We decided we didn't need another goalkeeper."
Without Dudek's miraculous double-save to stop Andriy Shevchenko from scoring plus the Poles' heroics in the penalty shootout, saving the spot-kicks of Andrea Pirlo and Shevchenko, Liverpool wouldn't have won the 2005 UEFA Champions League final.
Meanwhile, Wenger opted for Ipswich's Richard Wright for £6 million, who lasted one season.
Even Wenger's best goalkeeper signing, Jens Lehmann, part of the Invincibles, didn't make the Top 50 Greatest Gunners, let alone rank above David Seaman, Pat Jennings or Bob Wilson.
Wenger's first ever goalkeeper at Arsenal, Seaman, who Le Professeur inherited, is still his greatest ever goalkeeper.
Who is the last Arsenal keeper to make the PFA Team of the Year?
Seaman, 16 years ago for the 1996-97 PFA Team of the Year.