The task of finding a new long-term goalkeeper was never really a problem for Arsene Wenger in the first half of his 17-year association with the club.
David Seaman had the No. 1 shirt sewn up for as long as he was with the club at their stomping ground, Highbury.
Next came the charismatic Jens Lehmann, who arrived with a notable pedigree in Germany at Ruhr rivals Dortmund and Schalke, staying for five years in his first spell with the club, then returning for another short-term spell to solve Wenger’s goalkeeping woes.
In the main, the German was a steady pair of hands, in between the odd eccentric moment or blunder in North London.
Yet the departure of Lehmann created a massive headache for the French boss who saw a number of his young players fall under the pressure.
Spanish keeper Manuel Almunia, Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone have all failed to take full advantage of their opportunities. Wojciech Szczesny has shown potential and held on to the No. 1 slot for the past 18 months with a reasonable amount of assurance.
But as Metro UK’s Jamie Sanderson reports, the Gunners look to be chasing Queens Park Rangers keeper Julio Cesar:
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is eyeing another goalkeeper to act as competition for Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski, after agreeing to let Vito Mannone join Sunderland.
QPR shot-stopper Cesar has emerged as the number one target, with the 33-year-old also keen on the move as he looks cement his place as Brazil’s number one ahead of the World Cup next year.
But the transfer has stalled in recent weeks, with Cesar’s wage demands proving to be a huge stumbling block.
It is claimed the former Inter Milan keeper is being offered £30,000 per week by the Gunners but is demanding £45,000 per week.
The 33-year-old is on the top of Wenger’s transfer radar after having impressed in Brazil’s epic Confederations Cup victory last month. According to Sanderson, another potential target, Pepe Reina, has since been courted by Serie A side Napoli and former Liverpool and Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez.
Cesar’s experience at Inter Milan would provide the mental stability at Arsenal for high-pressure matches. In addition, the Brazilian is an excellent shot-stopper and can be a strong leader from the back.
QPR chief executive Philip Beard has previously admitted Cesar could remain at Loftus Road, despite interest from the Gunners.
“There is nothing firm yet on Julio Cesar. He is Brazil’s number one goalkeeper, so I’m sure he’ll interest a lot of clubs,” Beard said, as reported by Sanderson again in Metro UK.
There’s no doubt Arsenal’s hesitancy to strengthen in this area in previous years has cost them dearly at the top level.
Many young players have suffered with the pressure of the Premier League, and an experienced head would be a valuable addition.
Cesar could be the solution to a long-term problem at the Emirates Stadium.
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