Arsenal have a big problem at the goalkeeper position. So what’s new? Well, nothing, but it needs solving once and for all. Wenger has tried a variety of cheap and cheerful solutions, with only Jens Lehmann providing anything approaching a quality replacement since David Seaman’s retirement. How’s this for a roll call? Richard Wright, Alex Manninger, Mart Poom, Manuel Almunia, Lukas Fabianski, Vito Mannone & Wojciech Szcz?sny. Are you going to win a Premier League with any of those in between the sticks? Obviously not. So, who should they look to sign to settle this once and for all? How about one of these five.
Simon Mignolet – Sunderland
Scout Report Mignolet has been as good as any keeper in the league over the last couple of years since arriving from Belgium. He has excellent reflexes and shot-stopping ability, and is also a dominating presence in his area. He isn’t really a shouter but has helped organise an efficient and predominantly solid Sunderland defence. That might be a concern for Arsenal, who have a silent defence, but he’s young and it can be improved. His key asset is his consistency. With the exception of his horrible blunder against West Brom, he has been relentlessly consistent. Arsenal can buy him, play him and not worry about him.
How much? This would depend on if Sunderland get relegated, in which case it would be about £5m or so, if they stay up then maybe £8-9m.
Tim Krul – Newcastle United
Scout Report Krul has given Newcastle a solidity in goal that they haven’t had since Shay Given. He is capable of truly breathtaking saves, which he might well have to do behind the Arsenal back four, where at times he might not see much action but will be required to come up trumps when he does. He is a big, loud and imposing figure in the penalty area and takes no prisoners when claiming the ball. Wenger will be concerned about his distribution, which is pretty basic overall, but when he’s called upon to make saves he steps up.
How much? Newcastle are always open for business, and selling Krul would be less of a PA disaster than Cabaye, so if Arsenal offer £9m it could be hard for them to turn down.
Michel Vorm – Swansea City
Scout Report Vorm has incredible agility and a flair for dramatic and show-stopping saves. He is also as good a distributor of the football, as has been seen in the Premier League. The big advantage with signing Vorm is that he plays behind a similar type of defence to Arsenal’s at Swansea and would have similar responsibilities. He can make saves and then start attacks, which means that if Arsenal bought him, they could stick him straight in the team and not have to change the tactical approach. His weakness is in box command, but that has been improving. He can also be a little inconsistent at times, but it his best he can be incredible.
How much? Swansea do very tidy business, so selling him for less than £10m would be a surprise, particularly as Arsenal may not be the only bidders.
Victor Valdes – Barcelona
Scout Report Valdes wants to leave Barcelona to test himself in England and Arsenal is the best spot for him to land. He has the distribution that Wenger requires, he’s an athletic shot stopper and perhaps most importantly, he is used to winning and winning often. That is something that Arsenal chronically lack in their current squad. It’s hard to influence things on the pitch from in goal, but in training he can infuse the squad with a winner’s mentality. He’s played with the best and will expect certain levels from his new teammates.
How much? Hard to tell, given that he’s said he wants to go and only has a year on his contract. He’s worth £10m or so but might be got for less.
Steve Mandanda – Marseille
Scout Report An athletic and agile shot stopping goalkeeper, at 27 he is reaching prime form. He is one of the best shot stoppers in Europe and is currently in the form of his career, having shaken off his reputation for big mistakes. The captain of Marseille, he would bring a vocal presence and passion to win. He’s not the best in terms of distribution, but his leadership and box command is such that he could be put in to the team and he would be barking orders straightaway.
How much? The most expensive of these at around £15m, but arguably the best option for Wenger.Published 10 Apr 2013, 18:46 IST