Despite having the second best defensive record in the Premier League (35 goals conceded), Arsenal have had some shaky performances from Wojciech Szczesny this season, giving manager Arsene Wenger reason to try out Vito Mannone and Lukasz Fabianski. The two backups failed to make a strong impression, and a recently cracked rib to Fabianski has given Szczesny his starting position back. Is he good enough to start next season for Arsenal though?
The Polish international has been at Arsenal since 2009 and has been the starting goalkeeper for the last two seasons. In 2011 he expressed his desire to be at Arsenal for his entire career by telling Arsenal’s official website, “I realise there is a big chance in front of me and I might not give this No 1 shirt away to anyone else for the next 10 to 15 years.”
Arsenal have not won a major trophy since beating Manchester United in the 2005 FA Cup, and reports suggest Arsene Wenger is ready to spend big this summer. This has fuelled speculation that Szczesny could be a casualty of Arsenal’s spending spree.
There’s no question Wojciech Szczesny is a great goalkeeper, but he’s still learning. With all of the money Arsenal reportedly have to spend, is there room to allow Szczesny to grow? Probably not. Manchester United are the only top team that have this luxury with young David De Gea, and even he may find himself replaced in the summer.
Arsenal need to try something new, and that means adding that bit of experience and leadership the side has lacked in recent seasons. Asmir Begovic is only 25, but has been playing for various clubs in England since 2005 and would be more solid overall than Szczesny. The issue is his big price tag at £15 million, which may tempt Arsenal to look elsewhere.
Another option for Arsenal would be Julio Cesar. QPR are currently second bottom and doomed for relegation, but Cesar has been fantastic for them season. The 33-year-old has been capped 67 times for Brazil, and would bring a wealth of Champions League experience to Arsenal.
It’s hard to see Pepe Reina or Victor Valdez adding much more quality than Szczeny can offer, so unless Arsenal can sign a world class replacement like Begovic or Cesar, I suggest they spend their money elsewhere.