Arsenal Transfer Prospects: 10 Keepers Wenger Can Target on an Emergency Loan
Arsenal elimination from the UEFA Champions in the second leg of the round of 16 against Barcelona came at a number of costs,. The Gunner's conveyed a horrendous playing style, barely able to string consecutive passes together, Arsene Wenger's men were left with the English Premier League and FA Cup as the only sources of silverware to succeed in as they attempt to diminish their five year trophy drought. Rovin van Persie's controversial red card resulted in a world wide debates and the possible suspensions of Arsene Wenger and Samir Nasri.
But one of the biggest and unsought of blows was a dislocated finger and tendon injury to goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. The Polish shotstopper was forced to be substituted in the 18th minute after a Daniel Alves free kick injured Szczesny finger. It has been a whirlwind few months for the 20 year old, who last year was on loan in the eerie depth of League One with Brentford.
However an injury in December to predominant first choice keeper Lukasz Fabianski, ensured Szczesny was granted the opportunity to be the first choice Arsenal keeper as Manuel Almunia was still nursing an elbow injury and Italian youngster Vito Mannone was on loan with Hull City.
Since late December, Szczesny has been at the front of the helm, in superb form, forcing Wenger to admit the young Polish international was the new Arsenal number one. Despite the notorious error in the Carling Cup final against Birmingham City, Szczesny form has evoked critics and fans alike to admit that maybe Arsenal's recent keeping conundrum may be cured.
Unfortunately the finger injury is set to keep the Polish keeper sidelined for at least six weeks and with Lukasz Fabianski already ruled out for the remainder of the 2010/2011 campaign due to a severe shoulder injury, Wenger is short on keeper.
The much maligned Manuel Almunia, who replaced Szczesny gallantly during the 3-1 loss to Barcelona, has now been elevated to the first choice keeper role. The occasionally brilliant yet inconsistent Almunia will have to now take on the pressuring task of ensuring errors to not return to keeping roster.
Due to the frail numbers as the back, Wenger was set to recall 22 year old Vito Mannone, who has enjoyed a stellar loan spell with Championship side Hull City in recent months. However the Italian has suffered a thigh injury and will be absent for at least a month. This means Arsenal's deputy keeper is young gun James Shea, who is yet to make his professional debut for the Gunners.
This ensured Wenger will look to sign an experienced keeper on an emergency loan, if granted by the EPL, for one to two months. But who should the Frenchman target?
Here are 10 possible options.
10. Brad Jones-Liverpool
The Australian keeper may seem an unlikely option but the 28 year old is a more than capable keeper whose impressive performances for Middlesbrough in 2008/2009 and 2009/2010, saw Premier League giants Liverpool sign the Socceroos star.
Jones has been forced to endure the deputy role as the renowned Pepe Reina continues to dominate proceedings at Anfield, but the Australian international has impressed when given the opportunity. The Liverpool shot stopper boasts an impressive amount of experience and would provide able competition for Manuel Almunia as they battle for the number one role until Szczensy return in April.
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish would be eager to involve his deputy in more of a first team mix and the prospect of playing time is increasingly high at the Emirates. Furthermore the Reds have credible depth in their keeping ranks with youngsters Peter Gulacsi and Dean Bouzanis, who have both played at professional level.
9. Chris Kirkland-Wigan Athletic
A superb option as an emergency loan. Chris Kirkland is a strong, intelligent keeper who has stunning amount of experience and leadership in the English Premier League. Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has even admitted that a club can take Kirklan on loan granted they ensure correct opportunities.
2010/2011 has seen the much improved AliAl-Habsi overtake the predominant Wigan number one in the peckong order. The Omani keeper has been strong for the Latics ensuring lack of game time for Kirkland. However Arsenal's conundrum could be a blessing for the Englishman as the 29 year old would be an ideal short term option.
The former Liverpool shotstopper has played over 130 games in the Premier League and has captained the Latics on numerous occasion. Furthermore there would be no hesitation from the Wigan manager.
8. Thomas Sørensen-Stoke City
The courageous and experienced Danish shot stopper looms as another strong emergency loan replacement. Arsene Wenger has always admired the Stoke City keeper and attempted to lure the 34 year old to the Emirates during the January transfer window of last season.
However Sørensen was the first choice shotstopper for Tony Pulis's side back then but this season has seen impressive youngster Amir Begovic take the reigns. Sørensen has not featured in the Premier League since October as Bogovic's superb form has aroused plaudits from all around England. The Danish international however has been a commanding presence in the FA Cup, featuring in every game of Stoke's surpise run so far.
But the opportunity to play Premier League football once again, even for a short period, would appeal to the 6ft5 keeper. Sørensen has played over 200 games in the Premier League and Stoke have a deep amount of depth in Carlo Nash to support Begovic, should Sørensen enjoy a short stint with Arsenal.
7. Artur Boruc-Fiorentina
The Polish keeper has been a credible presence in the Fiorentina goal after an injury to renowned keeper Sebastien Frey. However Frey has returned to full fitness now and it should result in the demotion of the doughty Polish international.
This could loom as an adequate opportunity for Boruc to enjoy a short spell with one of the best sides in the Premier League. An experienced, journeyman, the former Celtic keeper should have no problems in handling the pace and powerful strikers of World Football's best league.
At 31, Boruc boast experience at every level and in nearly every competition and would be a sturdy keeper for the Gunners.
6. Flavio Roma-AC Milan
The deputy Milan keeper is an experienced, solid figure who has been an impressive and long standing presence in the Serie A as well as an outstanding stint in the French Ligue 1 with AS Monaco. Roma has been solid for Milan in the Coppa Italia this season and his experience would be invaluable for the Gunners.
A fit, imposing keeper, the 36 year old would be an efficient and smooth short term transfer that would be likely to succeed.
5. Marco Storari-Juventus
Storari has the unrewarding task of playing deputy to the world class Gianluigi Buffon at Juventus but the 34 year old is a steady deputy who has prevailed when called upon for the Zebras, particularly in six league appearances this season.
Another seasoned veteran who looms as a credible short term replacement, Storari has a wide wealth of experience and leadership under his belt alongside boasting a safe pair of hands. Strong when defending set pieces as well as powerful shots. Well known in Italy for his maginficient contribution with Messina, which prompted Italian giants AC Milan to sign him in 2007. The Italian's short term presence could be essential in Arsenal's EPL title bid.
4. Gregory Coupet-Paris Saint Germain
The former France number one would be an excellent addition to the Arsenal goalkeeping ranks and squad, even if for a matter of months. Coupet is one of the most regarded and experienced keeper in the French Ligue 1, having played over 450 games in the French National League.
Despite one being renown as one of the best keepers in World Football, recently the PSG keeper has struggled to play on a consistent basis at PSG with young gun Apoula Edel establishing himself as a promising prospect. Wenger has been a great admirer of Coupet and due to the heavy French atmosphere that governs Arsenal, the Frenchman would be an ideal fit into the young Gunners outfit.
The 38 year old would thrive and adore a chance to not only play under Arsene Wenger and Arsenal, but to perform in the Premier League.
3. Brian Jensen-Burnley
"The Beast" as the Dane is commonly referred too as, was an impressive performer for Burnely last season in the Premier League. Although the Clarets succumbed to relegation, Jensen's efforts did not go unnoticed.
However this season hasn't quite been the same for the 35 year old as Lee Grant continues to receive majority of the playing time in the Championship. Jensen has still managed to appear 13 times for Burnely, performing well in majority of the matches.
An imposing, brave figure, Jensen would be a suitable option as the short term replacement at the front of the helm. After gaining sufficient EPL experience during 2009/2010, Jensen would thrive under a stronger defensive line and would provide a much needed sturdy frame when defending corners and free kicks.
2. Tim Krul-Newcastle United
The 22 year old began the season in emphatic fashion for Newcastle United, enjoying a rich vein of form in the opening months for the Toons, however Steve Harper has since overtaken the Dutchman, despite some strong performances in reserves.
Touted as a future goalkeeping star, Krul boast sufficient EPL experience and impressed Arsene Wenger in Newcastle shock 1-0 win at the Emirates back in November. The Dutchman boast quick reflexes as well as safe hands. With Harper appearring to nailed down the Newcastle first choice keeper role, Krul looks unlikely to receive many opportunities which is why a short stint as the Arsenal number one would be a superb option.
1. Jerzey Dudek-Real Madrid
The Polish keeper has being playing second fiddle to arguably the world’s best keeper in Iker Casillas, and a move to England could potential be a realistic move. The 37-year-old is an experienced, quality keeper with terrific hands and particularly dominant when defending set pieces.
What is also an appealing factor, along with the fact Dudek is a cheap option, is that the former Feyonoord shot blocker has superb experience in the Premier League and Champions League having played seven seasons with Liverpool where he won the Champions League in 2005.