Should Arsenal sign Petr Cech to compete with Wojciech Szczesny?
Arsenal have struggled in the goalkeeping department since Invincible Jens Lehmann found himself frozen out of the first-team and ultimately released during the end of season transfer window. Manuel Almunia proved to be an unsuitable replacement due to his propensity to make high-profile errors, lack of concentration and confidence issues.
During the same period, Polish ‘keeper Lukas Fabianski earned the unfortunate moniker of ‘Flappyhandski’ for his poor command of his area when dealing with high balls and like Almunia he struggled with his confidence. The talent was always there for all to see but he lack the constitution to bury errors and continue with the match and often mentally deteriorated after a mistake to the point where it was a matter of when and not if he would err again.
Szczesny’s drop in form due to lack of competition?
The rise of Wojciech Szczesny at Arsenal was welcomed by the fans as it finally seemed as if we had a ‘keeper who not only had talent but also had unwavering confidence in his own ability and would not fret too much if he, as colloquially put by the fans, had a touch of the Almunias.
Szczesny has not been void of high-profile errors, the most memorable probably being the mix up with Laurent Koscielny that handed Birmingham the League Cup in 2011. However, he has progressed into a decent goalkeeper who was joint winner of the Golden Glove last season. Is decent enough for Arsenal though?
Wojciech’s kicking can be errant, his concentration lapses are becoming more frequent and his decision-making is getting progressively worse. After a stellar first-season he started to regress and after winning the Golden Glove he seems to have regressed again. The biggest difference between Szczesny and other goalkeepers since Lehmann departed is confidence and whilst initially it was a strength it is now as much of a hindrance.
Szczesny has become overconfident, cocky if you will, and complacent as well. He may feel he is undroppable, or at least was when Ospina was injured, and that may be the cause of his attitude. Rumours of him smoking in the changing room after the Southampton defeat have furthered the view that Szczesny needs to be dropped for a significant amount of time to give him the kick up the backside he needs.
I’m not sure Ospina is the answer because, regardless of how good he looks, I feel that a goalkeeper who is bought to provide “competition” for the incumbent number one is an aggrandising way of declaring someone as backup. I believe new goalkeepers should be, in the main, purchased to replace the current ‘keeper and that way you are guaranteed competition.
Is Petr Cech the signing Arsenal need?
There have been rumours over the past few weeks that Arsenal will enter the January transfer market and attempt to replace Szczesny with the man who shared the Golden Glove with him last season, Petr Cech.
According to reports we are readying a £7m bid for Cech and I for one would welcome it. I don’t doubt for a second that Mourinho will refuse to sell to us but the statement of intent may be enough to snap Szczesny out of the funk he is in – the one where he has make 6 errors leading to goals already this season, 3 times that of any other goalkeeper in the top 6.
A message needs to be sent to our goalkeepers that we are looking for a new number one and on the off chance that we actually are able to secure the signature of Cech we would certainly be getting one. Cech may have lost his place to Courtois at Chelsea but I believe that is more down to Chelsea wanting to hold on to the man who could be number one for the next 10-15 years and that comes at the expense of the man who has spent the last 10 years as their number one and possibly only has 3-4 years left at the top.
Overall I believe there is little between Courtois and Cech, possibly the former is a littler braver as the latter has seemed less foolhardy since his skull fracture, but the trade off of experience for longevity is a fair one for Chelsea.
Arsenal had the opportunity to sign Cech before he went to Rennes and again whilst he was at Rennes but it was not to be and he has spent the last decade at Chelsea winning multiple trophies, setting clean sheet records and generally being one of the hardest ‘keepers to pass in the league.
A player like Cech would provide real competition for Szczesny as he would walk straight into the first-team and Szczesny would have to fight to win his place back. Should Szczesny ever win his place back the beneficiaries will be Arsenal as he will be an improved goalie for it.
In goalkeeping terms, Cech is not so old he would be a short-term fix and not so young to completely bar the road to the first-team for his understudies. In short, he is the perfect player for us.
Sadly, Mourinho would never sell us a player that would improve us unless he was getting the better deal (Cole/Gallas) so Cech is pie in the sky but there are other ‘keepers who fit the bill such as Weidenfeller and Casillas and they possibly may be more realistic targets. Or maybe even a real go for Begovic?