Arsenal are expected to complete the transfer of Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina across the coming week, according to reports.
Ospina was strongly linked with a switch to Arsenal over the weekend, with reports in Argentina saying a move was close.
And now French newspaper Nice Matin says the Ligue 1 club have accepted a £3.2million bid from the Gunners, with the deal set to be done in the next few days.
Ospina, who recently rejected a new contract at Nice, has long been touted for a move to the Emirates. Arsene Wenger desperately needs goalkeeping cover after Lukasz Fabianski secured a move to Swansea and Emiliano Viviano headed back to Palermo following his loan spell with the club. Wojciech Szczesny remains the club's undisputed No. 1, but needs competition in order to push for his best form.
Despite missing just one Premier League game last season, per WhoScored.com, Szczesny still hasn't managed to fully convince all of his doubters. Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph notes Ospina's arrival signals a new challenge for the Polish stopper, whilst remembering some of his mishaps:
The signing of another senior international goalkeeper will also clearly put pressure on the place of Wojciech Szczesny, Arsenal’s current No 1, who has endured some wobbles since establishing himself ahead of Fabianski. He was dropped at the end of the 2012-13 season and Wenger also opted to keep Fabianski in goal for the FA Cup final rather than recall Szczesny.
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Ospina is likely to have caught the attention of many after a string of solid performances at the World Cup. The 25-year-old played in all five of Colombia's fixtures during the Brazilian tournament, conceding just four goals in that time, half of which came against the hosts.
The exciting goalkeeper's natural reflexes and acrobatic style props up a Colombian outfit that is built on exuberance. Solidarity at the back—also highlighted by the excellent performances of Mario Yepes and Cristian Zapata—allows star forwards such as James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado and Jackson Martinez the freedom to express themselves.
Ospina's confidence can allow a developing Arsenal side to do the same. Wenger has already spent lavishly this summer—bringing in Alexis Sanchez for £30 million, per Wilson—but chief executive Ivan Gazidis indicates further signings are on the way.
"We've pulled off a good one with Alexis Sanchez, it's a great signing for us," said Gazidis, per Simon Johnson of the London Evening Standard. "I'm happy for the club, but there's more work to be done."
It's likely Ospina will be the next addition. Ed Malyon of the Mirror points out why this should be considered a value-for-money deal:
Arsenal quoted £10m for David Marshall and more than that for Alex McCarthy but can likely pick up World Cup star Ospina for £3m. Premium.— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) July 14, 2014
It remains to be seen exactly how often Ospina will play in North London, but his arrival signals a switch in emphasis for the club. Wenger hasn't possessed a goalkeeper who can continually challenge Szczesny in a long while. Ospina's talents are well-matched, and across recent times, he has arguably outperformed the current Gunners favourite.
A lack of strength-in-depth halted Arsenal's title charge after Christmas last season, but it seems Wenger isn't willing to let the same happen again. With the Emirates Stadium paid off, the French boss now seems intent on ensuring his squad is packed with the quality to compete across all domestic matters and Europe.