With the focus very much on bringing a new centre-forward to the Emirates, some of the emphasis on Arsenal signing a new goalkeeper may have been lost.
For the first time since the move to the Emirates, Arsenal enjoyed a strong goalkeeping department with plenty of quality. Last summer’s loan signing Emiliano Viviano, a full international with Italy, failed to get a game, such was the form of Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski.
Fabianski is obviously a big loss, having finally turned a corner in his career and developed into the kind of goalkeeper Wenger had been promising for years.
It simply means that the club must replace the Polish international with equal or higher quality in order to build on the good work of last season.
With a goalkeeper set to be one of many arrivals at the club this summer, here are five options Arsenal should target.
Guillermo Ochoa had a fine World Cup with Mexico and is sure to have plenty of offers this summer now that his contract with Ajaccio has run its course.
Ochoa was linked to Arsenal many years ago and it would be no surprise to see the club revive their interest in the Mexican international.
Ochoa, based on both his form for his country and previous club, is good enough to challenge Wojciech Szczesny at Arsenal for the No.1 jersey and not just to act as backup to the Pole. On a free transfer, Ochoa should be a no-brainer for the club this summer.
Victor Valdes is without a club and with a very muddy future. Monaco have withdrawn their interest in the goalkeeper after he failed a medical, and it remains to be seen where Valdes’ next move will be.
But it’s hard to accept that Valdes is declining as a player after his knee injury, albeit a serious one. He’s long been one of Europe’s absolute best and would improve any team. I don’t see where the gamble is.
Arsenal may struggle to meet Valdes’ wage demands, but he’d be a considerable step up from Szczesny, as good as the Polish international is. Valdes would offer a wealth of experience and leadership to the squad. On a free transfer, they don’t get much better than the former Barcelona shot stopper.
Keylor Nava has certainly enhanced his reputation with his performances for Costa Rica at the World Cup, arguably being the standout goalkeeper of the tournament.
The Levante ‘keeper has drawn plenty of interest from Spain and abroad this summer, with the player’s buyout clause said to be €8 million – something his club’s board will long regret.
What remains to be seen is whether Navas can maintain this form at club level if he makes a step up from the Valencia-based side. He’s shown fantastic reflexes and bravery and, on this form, would undoubtedly add a lot to Arsenal’s squad in the coming seasons.
It’s a gamble, however, one Arsene Wenger is unlikely to make. But there are unlikely to be many detractors if Navas ends up at the Emirates this summer as backup to Szczesny.
Arsenal were said to be in hot pursuit for Asmir Begovic last summer, while Manchester City also sounded out the Stoke goalkeeper midway through the season. What has been clear once again over the past year is that the Bosnia and Herzegovina international is good enough to play for a club in the Champions League.
The question is whether Begovic will be happy to rotate with Szczesny at Arsenal. While the Pole has been excellent throughout the past season, Begovic looks to be a few steps ahead and is far too good to be a backup.
He’d come at a high price, with Stoke reluctant to sell. But Arsenal need quality in depth and would ensure a strong goalkeeping department well into the future with Begovic on board.
Of all the regulars in Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands team at the World Cup, Jasper Cillessen has arguably been the most overlooked – though of course with the exception of his substitution ahead of the penalty shootout against Costa Rica.
The Ajax goalkeeper has managed to displace Kenneth Vermeer as the club’s first choice, leading subsequently to being named Holland’s No.1 for the World Cup.
Cillessen has been consistent throughout the tournament in Brazil and has impressed for Ajax, with last season proving to be his breakthrough year.
He’s clearly good enough to be a starter for many clubs across Europe, but he’d make an excellent backup option to Wojciech Szczesny at Arsenal.