Jens Lehmann to the rescue for Arsenal
With Arsene Wenger in immediate need of goalkeeping reinforcements following season ending injuries to Wojciech Szczesny, Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone, breaking news has emerged that former Arsenal No.1 Jens Lehmann could be drafted into the squad on a short term deal to act as a backup for Manuel Almunia.
The former German goalkeeper played starring roles in his country’s World Cup campaign and in Arsenal’s Invincible campaign and the run to the 2006 Champions League final, the season in which he was named as the ‘Champions League goal keeper of the year’ despite being ignominiously sent off in the final in Paris. Lehmann is currently based in Arsenal’s London Colney training headquarters on a coaching course but reports from the English capital claim that the 41-year old is currently in talks with the Arsenal boardroom over an emergency short term deal and could be warming the Gunners bench in the match against West Bromwich Albion.
During his eventful six year spell at Arsenal which lasted from 2003 to 2008, Jens Lehmann amassed almost 200 appearances before moving to Stuttgart after losing his place to Manuel Almunia due to injuries and high profile mistakes. Now retired from all forms of football, the former Borussia Dortmund stalwart has not denied the reports and in a statement to the German newspaper Bild, the temperamental German has said, “I am in London and so far have heard nothing of such plans, but you never know.”
With Manuel Almunia unsettled with the North London club, there’s a strong possibility that Lehmann could in fact be drafted in as the number one goalkeeper for the rest of the season. After seeing their silverware dreams end in three competitions in a fortnight and Premier League being the only hope of winning a trophy this season, Arsenal have just sent an emergency call to one of the world’s most experienced goalkeepers of the modern generation. What will be interesting though will be the German’s relationship with Almunia, with whom he shared a well publicized and ugly rivalry during his Arsenal days.
With inputs from Zico