Despite Arsène Wenger’s insistence that he is happy with his goalkeeping options, Arsenal continue to be linked with targets in the transfer market this summer. With Wenger having replaced long-time No. 1 Wojciech Szczesny with last summer’s signing David Ospina midway through the season, there has been much speculation that Arsenal will aim to bring in a first-choice. Chelsea’s Petr Cech has been repeatedly suggested as a leading target.
Yet when asked about the possibility of signing Cech ahead of Arsenal’s meeting with Manchester United, Wenger’s response was evasive. “I don’t deal with ifs,” he said. And when the question was then put to him over whether he needed a world-class goalkeeper, Wenger stressed that he already had three, referring to Ospina, Szczesny and Emiliano Martínez.
Still the possibility of a goalkeeper of Cech’s quality being on the market must surely be a tantalizing one for Wenger. After 10 years as Chelsea’s first choice, the 32-year-old has lost his place to Thibaut Courtois this season, but has still performed impressively when called upon. Cech has made it clear that he is unprepared to spend a second season as backup, although it remains to be seen whether Chelsea would be willing to let him go to a Premier League rival. There could also be serious competition for his services, and his agent revealed last week that there have already been discussions with Turkish club Besiktas.
On Monday, The Sun reported that Real Madrid also hold an interest in Cech. That, though, appears highly unlikely given the increasing signs that David de Gea will be leaving Manchester United for the Bernabeu.
Similarly surprising is a claim from the Daily Mail that Arsenal are lining up Kasper Schmeichel as an alternative should they fail to land Cech. Schmeichel, son of former Manchester United great Peter Schmeichel, has performed impressively as Leicester City stunningly secured their Premier League safety although some shaky performances earlier in the season mean he is unlikely to be seen as being of the very highest quality Arsenal require.
As well as a goalkeeper, the other position Arsenal would appear in most need of strengthening if they are to make a serious title challenge next season is defensive midfielder. According to The Telegraph, though, that player is now unlikely to be Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin. The Southampton man, who has made clear his desire to join a club in the Champions League, has been one of the Premier League’s best holding midfielders in the past two seasons and would appear an ideal fit for the Gunners. The Telegraph, though, states that the France international could now be headed for Tottenham, with Arsenal instead looking for a player more adept in possession.
It is suggested that the player to fit that bill could be Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan. It is almost certain that the Germany international will be on the move this summer after the revelation that he won’t be extending his contract beyond next summer. But competition for the 24-year-old could be fierce. Manchester United have been strongly linked and Barcelona now may also come into the reckoning. According to Spanish sports daily Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona see Gundogan as a potential replacement for Xavi and are keeping close tabs on him despite the fact that they are currently banned from signing players until January 2016.