Arsenal Transfer News: Gunners Rumoured to Be Interested in Sergio Rico

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2018

VIGO, SPAIN - APRIL 07:  Sergio Rico of Sevilla FC looks on prior to the La Liga match between Celta de Vigo and Sevilla at Balaidos Stadium on April 7, 2018 in Vigo, Spain.  (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Arsenal have reportedly approached Sevilla about the availability of goalkeeper Sergio Rico during this summer's transfer window. The presence of new head coach Unai Emery, who used to be in charge at Sevilla, may help facilitate any deal.

A report from Spanish source Estadio Deportivo (h/t Football Espana) has said Arsenal will look for a new goalkeeper amid concerns about regular No. 1 Petr Cech and his deputy David Ospina.

Football Espana noted how Emery, who won three UEFA Europa League titles in a row with Sevilla, gave Rico his senior debut in 2014. However, the same source also pointed out how La Liga outfit Sevilla "are set to appoint a new management team imminently, with the futures of Rico and David Soria, who became first-choice shot-stopper from March, under scrutiny."

New decision-makers could value Rico more than the previous regime. There's also a question as to whether the 24-year-old stopper would be an upgrade over Cech and Ospina.

New Arsenal head coach Emery brought Rico into the first team at Sevilla.
New Arsenal head coach Emery brought Rico into the first team at Sevilla.CRISTINA QUICLER/Getty Images

Sport Witness does not believe he would, saying: "The Spaniard wouldn’t be a big jump in quality on what Arsenal already have, and there’s always the question of adaption to the Premier League."

While there are some doubts about Rico, there are at least equal question marks about Arsenal's options between the sticks, particularly Cech. The 36-year-old 'keeper has looked a shell of the player who once kept the door shut so consistently for the Gunners' London rivals Chelsea.

Instead, Cech has become increasingly error-prone since he signed for Arsenal in 2015. His worrying penchant for calamity became prolific this season, according to WhoScored.com:

Mistakes became so common for Cech he more than once took to social media to apologise for his deteriorating form. The first occasion came after he shipped three goals in a 3-1 defeat away to Swansea City at the end of January:

Cech was also in conciliatory mode after the Gunners lost 2-1 on their travels by Brighton & Hove Albion at the start of March:

While Cech had his own share of responsibility for a poor season, the Czech Republic stopper was hardly helped by Arsenal's struggles defensively. The Gunners conceded 51 goals in 38 Premier League matches during manager Arsene Wenger's final season in charge.

Wenger was hamstrung by injuries and poor form at the back, problems Emery needs to solve. It won't be easy considering 32-year-old centre-back Laurent Koscielny is out until December with an Achilles injury.

Koscielny's fellow central defender Shkodran Mustafi has been a major disappointment since arriving from Valencia two years ago. Meanwhile, Per Mertesacker has retired from playing to take over running of the club's academy.

It leaves Emery with 22-year-old Rob Holding and Calum Chambers, 23, along with 20-year-old Konstantinos Mavropanos. While Arsenal may add to the position this summer, there's a notable lack of experience and playing time among this trio.

Cech's experience can still be invaluable for young Arsenal defenders such as Mavropanos.
Cech's experience can still be invaluable for young Arsenal defenders such as Mavropanos.James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

The Gunners' inexperience at the back could make Cech an invaluable veteran presence. Emery is a manager who prides himself on his teams being organised and prepared for the opposition, so he is a good bet to arrest some of Arsenal's issues at the back.

With a more disciplined and talented defence in front of him, a goalkeeper of Cech's standing still has a lot to offer. Arsenal should focus resources on recruiting better centre-backs and a combative, defensive midfielder rather than making a change between the posts.

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