Arsenal have struggled with goalkeepers down the years.
The likes of Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski had their critics, whilst David Ospina and even the great Petr Cech also had their moments of difficulty between the sticks for the Gunners. Now Bernd Leno is the man currently trusted with the number one shirt and, whilst he may have a 77.2% save percentage ratio this term, he still made five mistakes last season that led to goals, the joint-most in the Premier League along with Asmir Begovic.
Wojciech Szczesny was another who failed to set the world alight in goal for Arsenal. So little was his impact, in fact, he was sold to Juventus for just €11.3m (£10m) in 2017. Since then, though, he has turned himself into one of Serie A’s top shot-stoppers.
Here, we take a look at how he is getting on.
Szczesny cost the Gunners just £45k from Legia Warsaw in 2006. It took him a while to break into the side, with his first real taste of professional football coming with Brentford in League One, where he conceded just 29 times in 28 matches, keeping 10 clean sheets along the way.
As soon as he returned for the 2010/11 season, he worked his way into the first team, starting more matches than any other goalkeeper that season. That led to him becoming Arsene Wenger’s first-choice for the next three seasons.
However, some horror moments, such as the blunder that cost Arsenal the 2011 League Cup final against Birmingham City, obviously frustrated Wenger, which saw him displaced by Colombia international David Ospina. The Poland international was then sent out on loan to AS Roma, where he kept 22 clean sheets in 72 matches in the league. Still, that wasn’t enough to persuade Arsenal to keep him, with them deciding to move him on to the Old Lady.
The 6ft 5 colossus needed to compete with Italian great Gianluigi Buffon at first when trying to nail down a starting spot at Juventus, but he still made 21 appearances in all competitions. He followed that up with 41 matches last season, including all 10 of their Champions League matches, and he is now the number one choice between the sticks at the Juventus Stadium, appearing in 26 matches this term to date.
All in all, he has shipped just 67 times in 88 outings, keeping 42 clean sheets. His save percentage rates have been stunning in the league, as well – he has numbers of 72.7%, 75.6% and a huge 84.6% in his three campaigns so far. That has already seen him win the Scudetto twice, and they were in a title race for a third before Serie A was suspended due to the current pandemic.
This has seen his Transfermarkt value rise to £36m.
Clearly, Wenger’s lack of foresight could have cost them €22m (£19.2m), which is what they spent on Leno.