One of the most understated exits in the Premier League this season looks set to be that of Lukasz Fabianski at Arsenal, with the goalkeeper opting against renewing his contract at the Emirates Stadium in the hunt for regular first-team football.
It seems strange that a player can leave a club in such quiet fashion with barely a murmur given that only two weeks ago he was victorious in a cup competition, given the nod in goal for the Gunners as they came from behind to triumph over Hull City and lift the FA Cup.
- Costel Pantilimon (Manchester City)
Available on a free transfer now, Costel Pantilimon has left Manchester City at the end of his contract in the hunt for the chance at first team football, having been told in no uncertain terms that he was always going to be number two to Joe Hart.
The Romanian giant is used to the English game having spent two years in the country and has seemed solid enough to provide a challenge to Szczesny, having at one point even ousted England’s number one from the City team after a run of poor form for Hart.
Pantilimon could easily take up the challenge at Arsenal in the knowledge that Szczesny is generally more error-prone than Hart and at 27 years of age now, he is in his prime to provide excellent competition.
If the lack of a transfer fee is not enough for Wenger to plump for the Romanian, the knowledge that Pantilimon kept three clean sheets in his seven league appearances, conceding at a rate of just one per game, a rate better than that of their current number one.
But that has not proven enough to convince Fabianski that he can shift Wojciech Szczesny from the number one spot at the club and he has left the Gunners to join Swansea City and be the main man between the sticks.
With Emiliano Viviano also leaving at the end of his loan spell with Arsenal, Arsene Wenger has made it clear that he needs somebody to come in and provide genuine competition for Szczesny, who has yet to truly make the number one jersey his own.
Here are four options for Arsenal to consider to replace Fabianski and give Szczesny a run for his money for a place in the team.
- David Marshall (Cardiff)
If money is no concern, then Wenger could make a move for David Marshall, with the Scottish stopper having been one of few players to come out of last season with any credit for Cardiff.
Marshall was often viewed as one of the top ‘keepers in the Premier League last season after he at least helped Cardiff remain respectable and talk of a move to either Arsenal or Spurs has been reported to be on the cards, as he looks to bounce even before his club do.
Seven clean sheets was actually something of a success for Marshall who missed only one goal all game, given that he made an average of 3.49 saves per game and still managed to make 1.77 saves for every goal conceded, while he also claimed 99% of his crosses competed for successfully.
However, with Cardiff talking about a fee in the region of £10m for his signature, a move for him makes a significant noise that Szczesny will be second choice, and the outspoken Pole could cause disruptions in the squad harmony as a result.