Arsenal agreed to the signing of David Ospina from Nice on Tuesday and his arrival should see current No. 1 Wojciech Szczesny replaced as the Gunners first-choice shot-stopper.
According to David Hytner of The Guardian, the deal for the Colombian international is worth £3 million and Arsene Wenger expects him to compete for his place:
The Arsenal manager has moved to fill the gap in his squad that was created by Lukasz Fabianski’s Bosman transfer to Swansea City at the end of last season and he has told Ospina that he wants him to compete with Wojciech Szczesny for the starting position.
Ospina, 25, played in each game of Colombia’s run to the World Cup quarter-finals, where they were beaten by Brazil and he impressed with his reflexes and command on crosses.
Indeed, such is the talent of Ospina that he will not want to play second fiddle to Szczesny—as Fabianski always did—and will rightly take the No. 1 spot if he performs to his best.
The very basic stats on the pair—based on their performances in the Premier League and Ligue 1 last season, per WhoScored.com—suggest that Ospina has the edge in just about every area:
|Wojciech Szczesny||Stats (for League season)||David Ospina|
|3||Saves Per Game||3.48|
|73||Save Success (Percentage)||80.2|
|1.11||Goals Conceded Per game||0.86|
|1.7||Crosses Claimed Per Game||2|
Looking at the Colombian's stats within his Nice side last season, he clearly had a major impact on their fortunes, per WhoScored.com:
David Ospina: Nice lost all 9 games that Ospina didn't start in Ligue 1 last season, conceding 2 goals per game compared to 0.86 with him— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 21, 2014
That is the kind of impact Wenger will be hoping he brings to Arsenal as well as providing Szczesny with decent competition which he has rarely faced during his career with the Gunners.
French football journalist Matt Spiro points out that Ospina will not be prepared to sit on the bench considering his youth and ambition:
No way Ospina would automatically accept no2 role.Ambitious, young and talented. Szczesny faces serious competition if €4m deal goes through— Matt Spiro (@mattspiro) July 20, 2014
At 24, Szczesny is also a fine young goalkeeper and Arsenal are now in the very strong position of having great, long-term depth at the back.
However, Szczesny may struggle, initially, to respond to the competition from Ospina and could quickly see his top spot taken away from him, per football writer Juan Arango:
Will tell you one thing, Arsenal got the steal of the window, getting Ospina for that much. He'll be starting over Szczesny in no time.— Juan Arango (@JuanG_Arango) July 22, 2014
Ospina has the talent and the form—he was terrific at the World Cup as Colombia made it to the quarter-finals—and will provide Szczesny with a challenge that should see both keepers improve in the long run.
Who Should Be Arsenal's No. 1?
Thus, the signing of Ospina is a win-win for Arsenal as it should give them not one, but two better goalkeepers than they have had in the past.
It looks as though Szczesny will likely lose his place in the short term but, should he respond to the pressure, there is no telling who might be the No. 1 at Arsenal in the future.