Steklenburg, Akifeev, James, Or Schwarzer: Which Is The Best For Arsenal?

Callum D'SouzaSenior Writer IJuly 26, 2010

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 11:  Dejected Maarten Stekelenburg of the Netherlands after defeat during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Final match between Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City Stadium on July 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Having gone five seasons without securing any silverware, the pressure on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and his men is immense. A team that boasts such talent, skill, and phenomenal playing style should be conquering at least one competition each season.

Although Wenger may have nurtured some raw talented strikers and midfielders in his squad into world class players. One thing the Frenchman has failed to possess in his appealing squad is a top notch, reliable keeper.

Since the departure of Jens Lehman in 2008, keepers Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski have failed to implement their presences on the Arsenal roster and the footballing world. The pair have a frustrating tendency to make vital errors, and some new names have come to light which raises the question: Which keeper is the right one?


1.Maarten Steklenburg-Ajax

The Dutch shot stopper was immense during the Netherlands' more than successful World Cup campaign. The Oranje were runners up in South Africa with Steklenburg playing in all seven of their encounters. Now the Ajax star is set to make a move to England with a number of clubs eager to snap up the 28-year-old.

Steklenburg would be a worthy addition to the Arsenal side and would surely ensure that the keeping woes would disappear at Arsenal. Unlikely to cost a fortune, the 6'5" keeper looks the best option.


2.Igor Akifeev-CSKA Moscow

The 24-year-old Russian has been a stand-out performer for CSKA Moscow for a number of years now. Blessed with quick reflexes, safe hands, and adequate decision making. Many have anticipated a move to a stronger league for the sturdy Russian.

Arsenal dynamo and Russian captain Andrei Arshavin shows little fear when voicing his opinions and on a number of occasions the little magician has stated his desire for Arsenal to sign Akifeev.

Believed to be wanted by Manchester United, Arsenal, and a number of big name clubs, Akifeev is headed for big things.


3.David James-Free Agent

Wojciech Szczensy has been touted by Arsene Wenger himself as the future Arsenal number one. However the Polish young gun is still only 20, thus requiring another lengthy loan spell so he can be groomed for the top job.

This being the case, a short term option does look appealing for Wenger. The Frenchman could bring in a quality, experienced keeper who can mentor the younger shot stoppers as well as fulfilling the keeper duties before retiring in a season or two.

David James would be an ideal replacement. At 39 years of age, the Englishman is overrun with quality and experience. Currently a free agent, Wenger would be able to sign the former Manchester City keeper for free which benefits the club on a whole.


4.Mark Schwarzer-Fulham

Similar to James, Schwarzer would be an excellent short term replacement allowing Sczensy and even Mannone to be groomed for the top job. At 37, the Australian would be a great leader and mentor to the younger keepers, as well as providing a quality presence in between the sticks.