Scouting Report: Could Jens Grahl Usurp Wojciech Szczesny?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJuly 4, 2014

SINSHEIM, GERMANY - JUNE 19:  Goalkeeper Jens Grahl of Hoffenheim takes part in the first training session of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim for the upcoming Bundesliga season 2012/13 at Dietmar-Hopp-Stadion on June 19, 2012 in Sinsheim, Germany.  (Photo by Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images)
Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images

Could Hoffenheim goalkeeper Jens Grahl be a viable Arsenal summer transfer window target, who could come in and challenge Wojciech Szczesny's No. 1 position? 

To cover that hypothetical scenario, here is a scouting report on Grahl, a 25-year-old, 6'4", 205-pound German goalkeeper. 


Grahl Positives

Kicker rate players on a scale of one to six: one being Marco Reus-great and six being Jacques Zoua-struggle territory. 

Grahl had a better rating than Borussia Dortmund's seasoned professional Roman Weidenfeller and was comparable to then-Borussia Monchengladbach (now Barcelona) goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Koen Casteels—a goalkeeper with the physical tangibles and talent to emulate compatriot Thibaut Courtois—was Hoffenheim's No. 1.

That was why Grahl flew under the radar.

When Grahl received his chance, he outperformed Casteels, who struggled throughout the season and was rated the worst Bundesliga goalkeeper by Kicker [1].

Grahl proved he was a brick wall in one-on-one situations.

Bayern Munich right winger Arjen Robben's placed shot was rebuffed by Grahl.

Getting in front of Hoffenheim centre-back Jannik Vestergaard, then-Eintracht Frankfurt loanee (now Hannover 96) centre-forward Joselu's snap-shot was stopped by Grahl's reflex save.

Racing through on goal, Eintracht Braunschweig centre-forward Orhan Ademi's firmly-hit shot was denied by Grahl's acrobatics.

With a diving one-handed save, Grahl thwarted Augsburg substitute Raphael Holzhauser's clear-cut scoring opportunity.

[1] Grahl did not play enough games to qualify for the final Kicker rankings.

However, his rating tied Nurnberg's Raphael Schafer as the fifth-best Bundesliga goalkeeper.


Grahl Negatives

Lacking experience with only 11 career Bundesliga games, Grahl does not have a body of work that Arsenal management can bank on. 

Is Grahl's inexplicable mistake against Borussia Dortmund a sign of things to come if he played an entire season?


Bottom Line

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01:  Wojciech Szczesny of Arsenal celebrates after Olivier Giroud of Arsenal (not pictured) scores their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on September
Clive Mason/Getty Images
League OnlyJens GrahlWojciech Szczesny
Games Played1137
Saves Per Goal Conceded2.82.8
Saves (%)73.477.4
Saves Per Game 4.33.1
Clean Sheets216
Clean Sheets (%)18.2 43.2 

Sources: Fox Soccer Bundesliga and the official Premier League website.

Grahl is headed in the direction of Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann, who had a career-defining season after years of toiling away as a back-up and third-choice goalkeeper. 

Matching Szczesny in saves per goal conceded and having a higher saves per game statistic shows Grahl has the talent to compete with Szczesny for Arsenal's No. 1 position. 



Statistics via