Petr Cech dropped two clangers against Brighton on Sunday and whilst the Gunners were simply not good enough as a team to win the game, this performance highlighted how far Cech has fallen, and why Arsenal desperately need to reinvest in a young keeper this summer.
The big investment option is Jan Oblak. The Atletico Madrid keeper is one of the best in the world, and the immediate concern will be if Arsenal are a big enough club to convince him to join right now. With Arsene at the helm, I think we’d struggle, but should a Joachim Lowe or Carlo Ancelotti type figure take over, I think we’d have every chance.
The realistic option and perhaps the shrewdest move, would be to sign Timo Horn from FC Koln. Just 24, Horn is one for the future but already regarded as one of the best young keepers in Europe. Despite his team struggling in the Bundesliga, Horn is highly thought of in Germany. What’s better? Horn could be signed for as little as £5million if Cologne are relegated. Sven Mislintat is said to have already opened talks with Koln for Horn and the Gunners would be confident of signing the young German – especially if the relegation clause is activated. Koln will almost certainly be relegated; they are 8 points from safety with just 9 games remaining.
Bernd Leno of Bayer Leverkusen has been mentioned in the press recently, but I don’t think he is the best solution. The German has put in some questionable performances for Leverkusen over the last few years and has so far, failed to realise the potential he showed early in his career.
Jack Butland is the homegrown and long term investment that many Arsenal fans are looking for. Although he’s made some high profile mistakes, Butland could be set to be the England number one this summer at the World Cup and on top of international experience, he has tonnes of Premier League experience, with 68 games for Stoke City, despite being just 24 and having endured a long term injury recently. Fans may need to be patient with the youngster, should he arrive, but Butland could be a good move and one that shows Arsenal are looking to the future.
And then there’s the wildcard, Woijech Szczesny. Seemingly detested by Arsene Wenger, should the Frenchman leave the club, Szczesny could be interested in returning as he has a great relationship with the fans. The Polish keeper has shown much more maturity during his time in Serie A and that led to many being puzzled by his departure. It’s possible that if Arsenal showed serious interest that Szczesny could return, but Juventus won’t be keen to let him go, with Buffon set to retire at the end of the season and Woijech earmarked as his natural successor.