Arsenal reportedly made the decision to loan out goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny following a row with goalkeeping coach Gerry Peyton, which could lead to a permanent transfer once his spell with Italian outfit AS Roma comes to an end.
That's according to Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport (h/t Metro's Mark Brus), who claim manager Arsene Wenger decided to ship out the Poland international due to an ongoing friction with Peyton.
Szczesny was recently dropped by the Giallorossi following the 6-1 defeat at the hands of Barcelona, although Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Kristian Sturt) claims the 25-year-old was once again caught smoking, which led to the punishment. As reported by the Independent's Doug Bolton, he has a long history of smoking-related incidents.
He has been in solid form for Roma, however, starting 10 of their Serie A matches to date, per WhoScored.com.
With Petr Cech joining the Gunners during the summer, there was no need for Szczesny to stay in north London, and Wenger decided to keep David Ospina as his main backup and send the Pole out on loan in an effort to hand him more playing time.
The loan deal can be seen in two ways: Either Arsenal still have plans for Szczesny and want him to continue developing, or they're hoping he will boost his transfer value with Roma ahead of a permanent move next summer.
Sport Witness' Tom Coast believes it's the former, despite the rumours of a row with Peyton:
If this is true, maybe time apart was exactly what the two needed and a return to Arsenal is expected come the end of the season as there is no buyout clause in Roma’s loan deal with the Premier League club.
It will be interesting to see how long this benching continues, as a lack of game time could cause the player to become restless, and Arsenal to consider cutting the deal short.
The problem is, then what?
Cech's presence will block Szczesny's chances for the foreseeable future, and the former Chelsea man has yet to show any signs of slowing down, so it's not hard to imagine him staying at the Emirates for the next three or four years.
Whether Szczesny would be willing to wait that long is a question we can't answer until it happens, and if there's an opportunity to cash in on his services, it's hard to see the Gunners not pull the trigger on a deal.
Ospina could be on his way to Besiktas, per the Independent's James Orr, opening the door for Szczesny to become Cech's main backup. However, even if the Pole were to leave as well, another solid backup can always be found.
Ruben Neves Scouting Trip for Naught
Arsenal reportedly sent a scout to watch teenage star Ruben Neves on Wednesday, only to learn the FC Porto midfielder wouldn't play a second against Uniao Madeira.
That's according to Portuguese publication O Jogo (h/t Daily Mirror's Alex Richards), who claim Arsenal sent former player Luis Boa Morte to watch the 18-year-old. Porto boss Julen Lopetegui decided to rotate his side, however, and Neves spent the entire night on the bench.
Neves recently committed himself to the Portuguese club, saying he is “only thinking about the club achieving its goals” in an interview with Porto's official club magazine, via Richards.
That hasn't stopped the transfer rumour mill from doing its thing, however, and for good reason. Premier League clubs continue to follow the starlet with a close eye, and per A Bola (h/t Portuguese football expert Jan Hagen), Arsenal are no exception:
Neves is enjoying a phenomenal breakout season, which even saw him captain the Porto side for a number of matches. Despite his young age, he already displays incredible vision and poise on the pitch, and he's getting better at the physical aspect of the game as well.
While he's not a bruiser, he's effective on the defensive side of the ball, even if his biggest asset is his passing. Here's a look at what he brings to the table:
Neves will likely be a very hot name on the transfer market once he becomes available, but that may be a while. Porto is one of the best clubs in the world when it comes to selling talent at their peak value, and Neves still has years of development ahead of him.
His hometown club is the best place for him to continue his career right now, and don't expect him to leave the safety of Porto until he's ready.