Arsenal are the favorites the sign Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, according to The Daily Mirror. The Gunners are expected to offer more than £10 million for the 25-year-old stopper.
Apparently Arsenal chief Arsene Wenger sees signing Mignolet as the solution to long-standing issues at goalkeeper. That is a plausible view, considering how difficult Wenger has found replacing Jens Lehmann.
Wenger ditched the eccentric German ace in 2007. Arsenal have suffered through one calamity 'keeper after another ever since.
Wenger indulged Manuel Almunia for far too long. Lukasz Fabianski was supposed to replace the hapless Spaniard, but has often been even more accident-prone.
Fellow Polish stopper Wojciech Szczesny has offered glimpses of maturing into a top quality 'keeper. However, the 22-year-old has also been guilty of numerous costly lapses in concentration.
Szczesny has also had his share of injuries and forced Wenger into a merry-go-round at the position this season. Vito Mannone subbed for an injured Szczesny early on.
When the Pole returned he went back into the starting 11. However, his form regressed badly and he was dumped in early March for Fabianski.
A rib injury sidelined Fabianski and gave Szczesny a shot at redemption. In fairness to him, he didn't really waste it.
Szczesny performed well in crucial victories over Queens Park Rangers, Wigan Athletic and Newcastle United. However, if the Mignolet rumors are true, it seems those performances were not enough to save Szczesny's job.
Many had assumed that Wenger would a seek an experienced short-term goalkeeper this summer. The idea being that the ageing stopper would fill the breach while Szczesny refined his game.
QPR's Julio Cesar has frequently been mooted as a credible choice for this plan. Signing the much younger Mignolet would be a clear statement Arsenal are moving on from Szczesny.
At 25, Arsenal could reasonably expect to get a decade of quality service from Mignolet. The Belgium international has blossomed into a stellar 'keeper in the English Premier League.
Agile and decisive, Mignolet offers a commanding presence Szczesny simply does not possess. The lure of UEFA Championship League football could tempt him away from Sunderland.
The Black Cats are understandably keen to keep him. However, Mignolet knows a move to a big club would be a major boost, in his battle with Thibault Courtois, to be Belgium's No.1.
Wenger has watched Mignolet get better and may have grown tired with Szczesny's cavalier attitude. He is also likely to still be irked by comments made by Szczesny's father, after his son was dropped.
The elder Szczesny publically criticized Wenger and that could be the moment he ended his son's Arsenal career. Signing a more competent EPL-tested 'keeper should be a summer priority for Wenger.
Mignolet is an excellent choice and snaring him would be a great way to begin a critical transfer window for the Gunners.