Inside Football: Arsenal to Begin Search for New GoalkeeperMarch 2, 2017
Inside Football: Arsenal to Begin Search for New Goalkeeper
Constant speculation surrounds Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil at Arsenal, with both players facing serious decisions over how much longer to remain at the club.
The Gunners have not won the Premier League since 2004, and as supporters grow increasingly anxious for that wait to end, manager Arsene Wenger also finds himself under pressure to prove he should remain in charge.
Outside of those big three names, though, there are other issues Arsenal must deal with—and we analyse two of those in this week's column.
Choice of goalkeeper regularly seems to have been a problematic area for Wenger, and we take a look at how the club are starting a search for their future long-term No.1.
We also analyse Lucas Perez's situation as he grows frustrated with his role at the Emirates Stadium.
Inside Football, the column that delves into issues behind the scenes, also highlights a potential new forward for Manchester City and a new name in Leicester City's hunt for a manager.
Petr Cech's Long-Term Future in Doubt?
Arsenal have begun the process of identifying new goalkeeping targets, bringing the long-term future of Cech into question.
Cech, 34, made a surprise switch to the Gunners from Chelsea in 2015 and has made 67 appearances between the sticks.
But sources have indicated to B/R that names are being drawn up as the club consider who their next significant goalkeeper signing could be.
It would be a surprise to see Cech leave the Emirates so soon, but the player himself may already have reservations about his situation.
Cech was left out of the starting line-up for the last-16 Champions League fixture with Bayern Munich as David Ospina was given the nod. Cech will also be disappointed that Arsenal have not made a serious title push during his stay so far, following his successful spell at Chelsea.
His situation will largely depend on the availability of those names that make the goalkeeper shortlist, but Cech will be able to grasp a feel for the club's plans once Wenger's future is established.
Lucas Heading for Gunners Exit
One man almost certain to leave Arsenal in the summer is forward Lucas Perez.
I am told he is frustrated with the back-up role he has been given in the squad this season and has become aware of options already opening up for a summer transfer.
Two clubs in England have looked into his potential availability, and the prospect of finally being able to prove himself in the Premier League could prove tempting.
La Liga outfit Sevilla are also keen if Perez fancies a switch back to Spain.
He has made only two league starts and one Champions League start for Arsenal this season. He has scored seven goals in all competitions from 18 appearances.
Pep Guardiola Considering Move for Striker
Man City boss Guardiola wants different game-plan options to open up next season, and that could lead to a significant change in the squad's attack.
One area being explored is to sign a new striker, and Fernando Llorente is believed to be someone they will attempt to sign.
Llorente, 32, leads Swansea City’s front line but was open to a switch to Chelsea in the last transfer window.
The Blues are moving on to other targets ahead of the summer market, and that will give the Citizens an opportunity to lure Llorente to the Etihad Stadium.
As he adapts his own methods to fit in with the style of English football, sources have indicated to B/R that Guardiola feels there is a need in the squad for a player who would fit more of a direct approach around the box.
It does not mean he is changing his philosophy, but, after dropping points at unexpected times this season, he is aware that City sometimes need to alter their approach play.
The addition of Llorente would make for an interesting situation given Sergio Aguero and Kelechi Iheanacho are already unsure how they fit into the Pep master plan.
Michael O'Neill on Leicester's Shortlist
Caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare is almost certain to be named Leicester City manager for the rest of the season, but Michael O'Neill could emerge as a realistic long-term appointment.
A good performance against Hull City this weekend should see Shakespeare retained in Claudio Ranieri's old role to give the board time to decide on a permanent successor.
Roy Hodgson has already been linked with the job, but I can reveal Northern Ireland boss O'Neill is also on their radar.
Sources have indicated that O'Neill is keen to test himself in the Premier League if the right opportunity arises, and initial contact has been made by Leicester over his potential availability.
It would be an interesting choice given Northern Ireland's impressive underdog displays at Euro 2016.
O'Neill seems a more realistic option than former England manager Hodgson, who has already turned down two job opportunities in England as well as two offers from clubs in the Chinese Super League.
Hodgson turns 70 this year, and his stance remains that he would only return to management for the right job.
Leicester seems a good job on the surface, yet it would prove difficult from his current home in London, and moving house at this stage is one situation he is keen to avoid.
I am told Hodgson did not meet with Leicester officials on Friday, but he has been asked to consider whether the role would interest him.
Ashley Young Waits for Summer Move
Ashley Young opted against a move to China but is still expected to leave Manchester United this summer.
Shandong Luneng pursued Young during February in the hope he could be lured to the Chinese Super League midseason.
But Young decided to see out the campaign at United and is going to see what options become available to him this summer.
Clubs in MLS have interest, and he could also remain in England, as former club Watford are among those keen.
Young has waited to see if he would get more first-team opportunities under Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho, but the signs are that he will decide to move on before next season.
Daniel Sturridge to Look for London Club?
Striker Sturridge is seemingly counting down the days to an exit from Liverpool; the big question is where does he go from here?
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp does not seem willing to give the England international a solid chance of becoming a regular in his line-up, and now Sturridge, 27, has a decision to make on the next step in his career.
With two years remaining on a hefty contract, it is likely he will have to accept a pay cut wherever he goes next.
My sources close to the Sturridge camp have indicated that he would prefer a move to London when looking for his next side.
Sturridge previously spent time at Chelsea before leaving in 2013. Options for another club in the capital are few and far between.
Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United would seem to be the only London clubs he could have any real hope of joining.
West Ham Scouts Watching Turkish Forward
West Ham always seem to be on the search for new forward options, and recently they have been monitoring the form of Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun.
Tosun, 25, is a Turkey international who has scored 16 goals from 22 league matches this season.
Notably, he also won the prize of best goal from the Champions League group stage for an acrobatic volley against Benfica.
Scouts from West Ham have been deployed to watch Tosun, and an in-depth profile of the player is being built ahead of a possible summer transfer bid.
Championship side Norwich City have also been keeping an eye on his progress and would make a move if they manage to win promotion.