Tag: Mark Schwarzer

Arsenal goalkeeper saga goes on

The Arsenal goalkeeper saga rumbles on and will dog the club until January at the earliest.  We’ve got ourselves into the situation where we have four first team keepers, who of course all want to play, plus the expectation that we are still in the market for another.

Every goalkeeper in the world seems fair game for a ‘linked to Arsenal’ story.  Goonersaur lists twelve keepers we are apparently monitoring, despite missing out one that Caught Offside touted on Saturday.

Some football agents seem to think they are serving their clients by getting their names out there, journalists have pages to fill everyday and websites all love the traffic.  Arsenal fans surfing the web are desperate for any news.   I did a post called ‘Arsenal goalkeeper rumours‘ back in August and got a massive spike in site stats, it’s still the second highest scoring page.  So there are plenty of reasons why this isn’t going away.

In the meantime, by which I means at least until 1st January, we have: four keepers who can read anywhere they like that they are not good enough; four keepers who all want to play; three keepers each week who feel pissed off; two keepers who don’t have anywhere to go on a Saturday and one keeper between the sticks each week with all of this on their shoulders trying to keep goal.

Even ardent Wenger fans, and I’m still pretty keen, have to admit we’ve made a dog’s dinner of this!

So what to do between now and the new year, and which goalkeeping rumours make any sense?

Now until the New Year

I don’t think there’s a massive amount to choose between Almunia and Fabianski.  I think that they have similar strengths and weaknesses.  On the upside, they are both agile shot-stoppers who are at the their best in open play situations or facing penalties.  On the downside they can both be indecisive and get stranded between positioning options or a flapping too far from a high ball.

Is it about confidence, skill or experience?  Probably a bit of all three and not the same mix for both.  Given that Fabianski has just had two of his best performances in a row, I’d be inclined to give Almunia’s injured elbow a bit longer and keep him in the team for Birmingham.  A successful run in the team would give him experience and confidence.  Maybe enough to inform the club what to do with him January.

The best you can do for Szczesny and Mannone is alternate them on the bench or send one out on loan.  It isn’t ideal but it’s about all they can get at the moment.  I don’t think there is that much to choose between them at the moment.  Szczesny was the more popular when we ran a poll last month, but I know that Mannone has his fans too.

Making sense of the rumours

Most transfer rumour are rubbish of course.  But what sort of keeper makes sense for Arsenal. Only two I think. Option 1, is splash the cash for a really top keeper.  You could call that the Buffon option.  Option two is less cash for someone who isn’t one of the biggest names, but has proved themselves as a confident, self-assured, experienced keeper who is always in the right place, even if their time of cat-like agility is behind them.  You could call that the Schwarzer option.

Whichever you go for, you then let three of the existing four go, leaving one as reserve and Shea as back-up.

I don’t see the point of another unproven keeper aged under twenty-five (the Begovic option). That wouldn’t make the choice any clearer than it is now.

And you resolve never to get into the situation where you have four first team keepers but no standout choice again.


Who controls Schwarzer deal?

Schwarzer wants to come to Arsenal. Wenger wants him. Mark Hughes has softened his line, but he needs a keeper to replace him if he let’s him go. The only name being mentioned is Given on a loan deal.

So the key player is City boss Mancini. Will he let Given go to Fulham? I have my doubts. City don’t need the cash. Joe Hart is looking good but he is still young and City’s owners will want want Mancini to be ruthless. They don’t want to watch Europa League football next year.

Letting Given go takes away their keeper cover and gives Arsenal the change we want. At the moment I’m not optimistic.


Squillaci on his way, now one week to sort keeper

Sevilla say that central defender Sebastien Squillaci is on his way. It’s just down the medical. Given that he spent a lot of the time injured last season this isn’t an absolute formality, but it looks as if we have finally added an experienced central defender.

This was the window where we needed pragmatism and experience rather than unproven stars of the future. Having said that all summer I’m not going too complain about a thirty-year-old central defender.

Now we need to find a goalkeeper and there’s just one week left to do it. Schwarzer, Given and Steklenberg are still out there. Clock’s ticking guys and we want to win something, right?

I still think we need another defensive midfielder but I’m losing hope on that one. We only really have Song. He is one of my favourites but there is only one of him. Diaby and Denilson are not real central defenders. Djourou played there early in his career but is unproven in the Premiership. Eastmond seems to have slipped down the ranks and Frimpong is out for the season.


Second big Arsenal injury in a week

Two days after the Nasri news it is announced that Frimpong has done his cruciate ligament in training and will probably be out for most of the season.

Are Arsenal just unlucky?  We seem to be getting through players very quickly during this lead in to the new season.  This new injury also highlights that we are very light on defensive midfielders.  Who will cover for Song, given that Diaby doesn’t stay put when he does it and Denilson bounces of determined forwards?

At least there is more encouraging news on the central defender front with the move for Sebastien Squillaci looking fairly likely.  The fact that Sevilla withdrew him from the Champions League game suggests that they think an agreement on price is a distinct possibility.


Arsenal goalkeeper rumours

It’s easy to feel pessimistic about Arsenal’s goalkeeping situation.  Ths whole thing seems to badly handled. We have four first-team keepers.  But nearly every Arsenal fan believes that none of them are up to the job.  Various hints and quotes from Arsene Wenger suggest that he feels much the same.  Two may be up to task in the future.  Two must be feeling thoroughly demoralised by now.

But it is still possible to be an optimist.  There are still nearly two weeks to go until the end of the the transfer window and according to various reports there are still several options out there.

Mark Schwarzer  –  This has been the story that just won’t go away despite the best efforts of Fulham.  Schwarzer clearly wants a move.  Arsenal clearly want a keeper.  Fulham probably couldn’t turn their noses up at a sizable wad of cash.  Still a possibility.

Shay Given  –  It is clear that City see Joe Hart as the future.  He has the talent and motivation of the motivation of  the England jersey.  Mancini saying that he hopes Given will stay but will understand if he doesn’t want to, must tell the Irishman all he needs to know about his chances of first-team football.  Still a possibility there.

Maarten Stekelenburg  –  Ajax have cashproblems, according to their financial director Jeroen Slop. Which has to mean they are open to offers.  Stekelenburg is an experienced, international goalkeeper.  Still a possibility there.

So, three experienced international keepers out there. Thirteen days until the window slams shut.  Come on Arsene, Ivan, give us optimists a reward!


A tale of two goalkeepers

Reina’s out of character gaffe rescued a point for us today.  Almunia‘s all to typical game could have cost us three points.  To be fair, none of expected great things today. With so many players unavailable, a draw away at Anfield is someting that many would have settled for ahead of the game.

Overall, we weren’t great, but we weren’t terrible either.  We could have got wider and  Chamakh could have pushed himself into the box a bit more.  But mostly it looked like what it was, an early season game against a big team.  The biggest talking points were individual events rather than consistant good or bad performance.

Should Cole have got a red card? Yes.  It was a reckless challange. It wasn’t a missed timed block, it was a stud-first lunge.

Should Arsenal have conceded that goal? Even good keepers get beaten at their near post occasionally.  But gaffes are not an occassional event for Almunia.  This game was a typical performance.  Some great agile saves, but some leaping flaps and a near-post goal.   We still need a new keeper.  Let’s hope we can land Given or Schwarzer this week.

Should Koscielny have got sent off? I thought it was very harsh.  The ball travelled two feet before it hit his arm.  I don’t think it was a deliberate handball.  Now we may have Nordtveit playing the next game.  I was going to say ‘good job its only Blackpool’, but we shouldn’t be too complacent.   We still need another new central defender.

Were Arsenal lucky to get  a point? Yes.  Reina wasn’t under great pressure and gaffed.  Cheers mate.  But we are still two players short and we won’t always get that lucky.


Schwarzer saga poses Anfield selection dilemma

Here we go again! Various media reports that Mark Schwarzer really has put in a transfer request now. Direct quotes from Mark Hughes who now expects a fresh Arsenal bid. This sounds like a solid story other than for the fact we’ve been here several times already.

This could be good news, we need a new keeper (see several thousand previous posts). But if true the timing would pose a short-term dilemma for the Liverpool game. Would you play Almunia if it was obvious he was about to be replaced, or Fabianski unsure whether he was being replaced or being confirmed as a number two?

Or tell Mannone or Szczesny that this is their chance to show that they are the future?


That Schwarzer story again!

The story just won’t go away. Despite forthright statements from Fulham the story still has legs. ESPN have a report that claims direct Schwarzer quotes that he wants the move and that talks are delicately balanced. Apparently he may turn out to be injured and unable to pay for Fulham this weekend.

I hesitated to post this, it’s a story that has gone round and round in circles. But all Gooners know that this, and another central defender, are the crunch issues for the season ahead.

Meanwhile, reports from Arsenal seem to confirm that all the injury doubts aired earlier in the week are still a problem. Song, Diaby, Djourou and Denilson are all still doubtful for Sunday. A Premiership start for Frimpong is looking more and more likely. The complete guesswork prediction I made a couple of days ago on the Anfield line-up looks a distinct possibility – apart from Song


Schwarzer story a dud

Looks like the Schwarzer transfer request story this morning is a dud. Very explicit denial issued by Fulham.

Many Arsenal fans, myself included, are so keen to see a successful move for a new keeper that we’ll buy pretty much any story going.


Schwarzer deal would leave cash for another defender

Several media sites report that Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer has handed in a transfer request. Not that surprising. At 37 this is his last chance for a big club and Champions League football.

Rather bizarrely the Telegraph reports that Arsenal want him to provide competition for places! Just goes to show how even national newspapers are thrown together quickly. Or that Almunia’s mum works as a webpage sub for the Telegraph!

I hope that he comes to Arsenal now. Preferably before Sunday. He will be a real step forward and the amount needed to bring him in should leave cash for another central defender which we also desperately need.

Fingers crossed!


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