Recent summers at the Emirates have been notoriously quiet much to the frustration of Gunners fans but this one is shaping up to be a lot more lively with several players having already left the club and Granit Xhaka having just completed a £30 million switch.
Another man who could be on his way out is goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who has spent the season on loan at Roma.
The Pole was Arsenal’s number one for three seasons and looked to be developing into the long-term solution in goal at the Emirates particularly when he was rewarded with a bumper long-term contract in November 2013 that made him one of the most highly paid keepers in the world at the age of just 23.
The deal represented a real show of faith from Arsene Wenger but Szczesny’s decline in form, particularly in the 2014-15 campaign when he lost the number one jersey to David Ospina, has made it now look like a poor piece of judgement on Arsenal’s behalf and one that leaves them in a tricky position.
No longer first-choice
There can be no doubt that Petr Cech is now Arsenal’s first choice goalkeeper after a fine first season at the club and the experienced shot-stopper is almost certain to retain the position for the next few seasons at least.
His arrival in North London last summer certainly felt like a nail in the coffin of Szczesny’s career at the Emirates, but finding a buyer to match his reported £100,000 a week wages was always going to be the difficult part.
Szczesny to his credit agreed to move on loan to Roma which was a good move for the keeper at the time given he got to continue his development in another top league whilst continuing to play Champions League football.
He had a solid season in the Italian capital and was very much the club’s first choice keeper despite briefly being dropped after he was again caught smoking following a Champions League defeat against Barcelona.
However it seems unlikely Roma will make a permanent move for Szczesny now his loan has ended and 12 months on, Arsenal and Szczesny have exactly the same dilemma on their hands.
No sense for Arsenal to keep him in the books
The Pole still has two years to run on his contract but is effectively the club’s third choice keeper. On the wages he is on, it clearly makes no sense for the Gunners to hang on to him and if Ospina stays it’s hard to see how Szczesny will ever play for the club again.
Therefore, for footballing reasons, a summer transfer away is the best option for the 26 year old although he would almost certainly have to take a huge pay cut. Szczesny has spoken of his desire to ultimately regain the number one jersey at Arsenal but it’s certainly feasible that Cech could keep going for another three or four years, which would be an extremely long time to play the waiting game.
The Pole also recently stated he’d be open to another loan move back to Roma, but it’s hard to see what that would achieve and again he’d most likely find himself in the same position next summer with another year to run on his Arsenal contract.
Time for a new home
Szczesny is only 26, which is young for a goalkeeper so he does at least have time on his side and the potential to develop, but having spent a decade on Arsenal’s books already and having seen his stock rise and then fall dramatically to the point where he’d no longer even make the subs bench, surely it is time the Polish international found a new permanent home.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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