Arsenal's search for a new goalkeeper could lead them to soon-to-be relegated QPR ace Julio Cesar. The Brazilian veteran offers the kind of experience and authority Arsenal lack between the posts.
Reports in The Daily Mirror suggest Arsene Wenger will attempt to lure Cesar to North London once QPR's demotion is officially confirmed. Cesar is known to want to stay in England's capital city.
Wenger actually tried to sign Cesar last summer, but only wanted him to backup Wojciech Szczesny. That dynamic might have changed, as the youthful, but inconsistent Szczesny is no longer assured of his place.
The 22-year-old has been benched for fellow Polish 'keeper Lukasz Fabianski. That move came after Szczesny faltered in several high-profile games.
He has regained his place for Arsenal's last two fixtures with Fabianski out injured. Szczesny has kept a pair of clean sheets during his first-team return.
However, that still might not be enough to make Wenger trust him again as Arsenal's No.1. He has simply made too many basic errors this season.
Szczesny's case also hasn't been helped by comments made by his father. Those comments attacked Wenger personally for his handling of the goalkeeping position.
If Szczesny is deemed to be more trouble than he's worth, then Cesar would be a smart alternative. The 33-year-old is a savvy stopper with plenty of top-level, trophy winning experience.
In 2009/10 he won the UEFA Champions League with Inter Milan. He's also been a regular in the Brazil national team.
Cesar can also feel little shame regarding QPR's relegation plight. His performances have been solid and scoring goals has been Rangers biggest problem, rather than conceding them.
Cesar was outstanding at the Emirates Stadium at the end of October. He produced a string of quality saves to keep Arsenal at bay for most of the 90 minutes.
It took a late offside goal from Mikel Arteta to get the better of Cesar. He'll have another chance to impress the Gunners' hierarchy, when Arsenal travel to QPR on May 4th.
The last time Wenger solved goalkeeping issues by signing a veteran on the cheap, he bought Jens Lehmann in 2003. The eccentric German proved to be an inspired signing.
He kept goal during the unbeaten season of 2003/04. Lehmann was also the hero of the penalty shootout win over Manchester United in the 2005 FA Cup final.
The next season his heroics helped boast a superb defensive record en route to the UEFA Champions League final. It was Lehmann who saved a late penalty to win the semi-final against Villarreal.
It makes sense for the Gunners to sign a veteran stop-gap at goalkeeper. It would allow them the time to let Szczesny mature, or to simply develop another youngster.
More importantly, Arsenal need a battle-hardened 'keeper with real expertise. Cesar is certainly that and would be a superb low-key signing.1046474