Arsenal's Goalkeeper Conundrum, Arshavin's confidence and more tidbits

Vijay MuraliAnalyst IJuly 24, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 17:  Wojciech Szczesny of Arsenal looks on during the pre-season friendly match between Barnet and Arsenal at Underhill on July 17, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
Phil Cole/Getty Images

The latest official Arsenal transfer news is that of Eduardo da Silva leaving Arsenal after never really recovering from the malicious tackle by Martin Taylor. But the one transfer that Arsenal fans still await is that of a first-choice Goalkeeper.

The Goalkeeping Dilemma

Manuel Almunia has not been given a chance in Arsenal's first two friendlies and there is a good probability that his duties may be passed onto Lukasz Fabianski, Vito Mannone, Wojciech Szczesny or to someone whom Arsenal purchase during this transfer window. If Manuel Almunia is frozen out of Arsenal, then let us take a look at his possible replacements.

Lukasz Fabianski, who was given a run-out in both friendlies, has been touted as the replacement in the case that Arsenal fail to seal a transfer for a Goalkeeper. Lukasz Fabianski is a decent shot-stopper and has decent technique. But his questionable decision-making ability and his culpability for making high-profile errors (as was the case on numerous occasions, last season) make him a risky option for a first-choice goalkeeper. 

Vito Mannone, the young Italian, has shown that he has a lot of potential but has made errors in the last season. One fantastic game against Fulham was followed by some average games, after which he was replaced by Manuel Almunia. It now depends on how much he has impressed Arsene Wenger in pre-season training.

Arsene Wenger has said that he expects Wojciech Szczesny to be Arsenal's no.1 in the future. The Polish youngster had a fabulous season on loan at Brentford. He will continue to ameliorate and he will most probably go out on loan again this season. But Wenger expects big things from the lad and Wojciech Szczesny is sure to get his chance. It would not be a major surprise though if Szczesny is asked to stay at Arsenal and hone his skills with the club.

Arsenal have been linked to a host of Goalkeepers including Sebastien Frey and Samir Handanovic. But the one person who has been very strongly linked is the 37-year old, Fulham Goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer. Reports say that a player-coach deal has been tabled for the Australian. Mark Schwarzer could be the ideal choice for Arsenal to guide the young goalkeepers, until they are ready for being the no.1. Having said that, Schwarzer is reportedly priced at 4 million, which can be considered to be high for someone nearing retirement.

Arshavin's Confidence

In other news, Andrei Arshavin has written off Manchester City in the title race, commenting that he expects them to clinch a Champions league place at the best. Arshavin has known to be an outspoken speaker and yet again he has done it. Andrei Arshavin has also oozed confidence regarding the pre-season terming it to be just perfect, which is good news for Arsenal fans, who are used to his critical comments.

The Forbes magazine has declared Arsenal to be the second richest football club in the club and it is time Wenger opened up his cheque book and make some acquisitions in the transfer market. Wenger has also said that he does not need a replacement for Eduardo, but is on the look-out for another defender. Wenger would hope not to have to face another season of injury troubles to his forwards (though that does not seem realistic with Robin Van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner, being two of the three strikers).

Let us hope Andrei Arshavin is not asked to play as a centre-forward because I guess that might lead to Andrei Arshavin moaning about lack of transfers. What he commented upon,last season (on the lack of transfers) was correct but the timing was awful because back then, Arsenal were still in the title race, only 2 points behind Chelsea.

Latest Arsenal News

There have been unconfirmed reports that Arsenal have had a bid for Phil Jagielka knocked back by Everton. If it is true, then Arsene Wenger is on the search for a defender who is experienced in the premier league like Gary Cahill or Phil Jagielka. Thomas Vermaelen has praised new signing, Laurent Koscielny but what remains to be seen is how the pair performs in crunch games in the Premier League and the Champions League.

Wenger has also said that he would prefer Jack Wilshere to gain first-team experience with the Arsenal team rather than loaning him out. As I had written in my earlier article, I guess that would mean that he sees Wilshere as one of the probable replacements for Cesc Fabregas if he does leave in a couple of seasons. 

Sol Campbell is still in a dilemma as to whether to accept the Arsenal offer or to jump the ship to a lower-ranked Premier league club (Newcastle United, Sunderland and West Ham United are rumored to be interested) or Celtic. According to reports, Arsene Wenger believes he can persuade Sol Campbell to stay on for one more year.

Even though Joe Cole has signed for Liverpool FC, Arsenal would not mind that too much considering the fact that there is no dearth of talented attacking midfielders. Let us hope Arsene Wenger loosens his purse strings and makes some acquisitions in key areas like goalkeeping and defence.

Arsene Wenger would like to add a few more quality players who can lend some much-needed experience to this youthful Arsenal team. The mixture of youth and experience is the key to Arsenal breaking their trophy drought.