The Premier League season began yesterday in emphatic style with a number of games containing a host of goals and upsets. In what is set to be a thrilling season, a number of clubs immediately stated their intentions early on, Blackpool to say the least.
However, although the season has just begun, the summer transfer window is still well in flight and with only a few weeks left before the window is closed, things will undoubtedly heat up.
The opening match of the Premier League was a exciting encounter between big spenders Manchester City and promising Tottenham Hotspurs. Although most of England were eager to witness the new arrivals that had been acquired at the Eastlands, many were keen to see which keeper City manager Roberto Mancini would use.
With Shay Given and Joe Hart both contesting for the No. 1 role, one was set to conquer whilst the other would immediately start looking elsewhere, most likely Arsenal. It was young Englishman Hart who prevailed, receiving the top job and performing sensationally, easily snatching man of the match.
Given is now set to join another club in the Premier League with the Gunners set to be the front-runners.
Arsenal are in desperate need of a keeper after recent seasons have seen Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski nervously defend the goal with not much skill. The pair have a tendency to make vital errors often and also be tremendously inconsistent.
Both are suitable second-choice keepers at a club like Arsenal but with the Gunners failing to secure silverware in five seasons now, manager Arsene Wenger is keen to seduce a quality shot stopper.
Mark Schwarzer looked the most likely to arrive at the Emirates this summer. A deal look to have materialized shortly after the World Cup but has since faltered. The Australian is said to be immensely keen to join the North London outfit, but Fulham manager Mark Hughes is eager to keep the reliable keeper.
However, it is growing increasingly likely that Hughes will be unable to win the tense encounter and Schwarzer should get his way.
So with two quality experienced shot stoppers up for grabs both around the same price, who does Wenger choose?
The 34-year-old has widely been regarded as one of the best keepers in England for some time now despite falling out of favour at City. Given is an experienced leader who boasts quick reflexes and safe hands. At 34, the Irishman would be an ideal, quality keeper who would provide a stable presence in goal and allow boom youngsters Vito Mannone and Wojciech Szczensy to develop further before taking over the first choice role.
Having played over 400 games in the Premier League, Given would be a strong mentor to other up and coming keepers as well as providing extra leadership in the young Arsenal roster.
The 37-year-old was tipped to join the Emirates and if Mark Hughes allows Schwarzer to depart, the Welshman will immediately target Given. The Fulham man has been one of the most consistent performers in the Premier League for a number of seasons now, as well for Australia.
Schwarzer boasts similar traits to Given and is of an ideal age for the younger, developing keepers. The Australian is likely to be slightly cheaper than Given.
So who does Wenger target?
The Irishman or the Australian, both would provide the calibre Arsenal so dearly need in goal and signing either would tremendously heighten the Gunners' title challenge. It's just a matter of who.