Real Madrid's Iker Casillas Is a Great 'Keeper but the Wrong Profile for Arsenal

James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistApril 10, 2014

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 08: Goalkeeper Iker Casillas of Real Madrid CF greets the audience as he leaves the pitch after his warming up prior to start  the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Villarreal CF at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 8, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Santi Cazorla has urged Spanish international goalkeeper Iker Casillas to join him at Arsenal. Speaking to The Sun (h/t The Mirror), Cazorla said:

I've told Iker I would like him to join Arsenal. His situation is very difficult but he has to make a decision.

Lots of clubs want him, including Arsenal.

The difficulty Cazorla refers to is the fact that Casillas has seen himself relegated to Madrid’s "cup 'keeper" role this season. Having been displaced as the team's starter by Diego Lopez, he has not made a single La Liga appearance in 2013/14. The Spaniard has played in every Champions League match, but a player of his pedigree needs to be playing every week.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 08:  Lukasz Fabianski of Arsenal in action during the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Arsenal and Everton at Emirates Stadium on March 8, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

It’s a similar situation to that faced by Arsenal’s Lukasz Fabianski. The Pole has become a reliable deputy at the Emirates Stadium and is regularly afforded playing time in the Capital One Cup and FA Cup.

However, at this stage in his career, it’s not enough. Fabianski has opted to leave Arsenal at the end of his contract to seek regular first-team football.

That leaves Arsenal needing a new 'keeper. With Emiliano Viviano’s loan deal also set to expire, Wojciech Szczesny would be left as their only senior stopper.

However, Casillas doesn’t fit the bill.

Speaking on Spanish television show El Hormiguero (h/t Sky Sports) back in December about the possibility of exiting Madrid, his uncertainty was palpable:

Many people are speculating about my situation. It's not the same as it has been in recent years.

Every day rumours appear and whilst these stories appear, I belong to Real Madrid, which is the club of my life.

I want to stay here. Right now, my decision is to stay at Real Madrid. I want to get the tenth [European Cup], more trophies and more league titles.

If he is going to leave the club of his life, it must be for a regular place in the team.

That’s not something Arsenal can offer.

Szczesny still has his erratic moments, but he is emerging as a fine goalkeeper. Having kept faith with him until now, it would make no sense to bring in a more senior keeper to take his place.

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Wojciech Szczesny of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Arsenal at Britannia Stadium on March 1, 2014 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Arsenal need someone who is strong enough to challenge Szczesny without being reputable enough to instantly demand his place. It’s a difficult balance to strike. For a long time, Fabianski was too error-prone to fit the bill. Now that he has developed into an impressive goalkeeper, he is seeking pastures new.

Arsenal’s best bet may be to target someone approaching the end of their career. Tottenham and Chelsea both have highly experienced deputies in Brad Friedel and Mark Schwarzer. Someone of that ilk could be both competition and a mentor for the young Szczesny.

Casillas, great though he is, is not that man.


James McNicholas is Bleacher Report’s lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here.