Arsenal are reportedly considering their goalkeeping options and could opt to launch a bid for one of either Iker Casillas or Victor Valdes.
The Gunners need to reappraise their current options with existing understudy Lukasz Fabianski due to leave at the end of the season. Third choice Emiliano Viviano will return to Palermo when his loan expires.
That has left Arsene Wenger needing to decide whether to find an understudy for Wojciech Szczesny or seek direct competition for the current number one.
Questions have been raised, not for the first time, about Szczesny's place as undisputed first choice at the Emirates following the 6-0 drubbing by Chelsea. It was a nightmare afternoon for the 23-year-old and came quickly after his rash decision making saw him sent off against Bayern Munich, a dismissal that played a huge role in Arsenal's Champions League exit.
Arsenal players who could leave the Emirates this summer
Arsenal players who could leave the Emirates this summer
1/8 Lukasz Fabianski
The Pole looks set to end his frustrating spell with the Gunners having spent the bulk of his time in north London as an understudy. Having joined the club in 2007 from Legia Warsaw, Fabianski has made just 31 Premier League appearances, having seen firstly Manuel Almunia and Jens Lehmann ahead of him before his compatriot Wojciech Szczesny took over between the sticks at the Emirates. Despite brief chances to make his first-team claim, injury and costly mistakes has seen Arsene Wenger lose patience with the 28-year-old, and he is likely to try and resurrect his career elsewhere.
2/8 Bacary Sagna
The biggest name who looks likely to leave the Emirates this season after contract negotiations reportedly broke down between the club and the Frenchman. Wenger’s policy to offer over-30’s a one-year extension only looks set to rob him of yet another experienced player, having seen players such as Robert Pires head for pastures new when contract talks broke down. Carl Jenkinson has shown potential that he can step up and replace Sagna, but his development is far from complete and would see one of Arsenal’s stronger positions severely weakened.
3/8 Nicklas Bendtner
The frustrating figure that is Nicklas Bendtner has looked happier at Arsenal this season than in recent years, but he is almost certain to be allowed to leave after failing to fulfil his promise that saw him held in such high esteem by Wenger back in 2004. Stints away from the club haven’t produced much in terms of success in front of goal, and Wenger’s desire to bring in a new striker looks to be the final nail in his almost buried Gunners coffin.
4/8 Kim Kallstrom
Kallstrom was Wenger’s surprise January signing, having moved to sign the Swedish international on deadline day on a loan until the end of the season. Arsenal fans got an even bigger surprise – not to mention an unwelcomed one – the following day when the 31-year-old was immediately ruled out for six weeks with an existing back injury. His stay is not expected to continue beyond the summer.
5/8 Emiliano Viviano
Brought in to provide competition with Szczesny and Fabianski, Viviano was one of Wenger’s few summer signings having been acquired on a season-long loan deal with a view to a permanent move. But the Italian has failed to make a single appearance this season, and looks likely to return to Palermo when his deal expires – although there is a hefty £5m clause to make the move permanent on top of the £1m paid for the initial loan.
6/8 Thomas Vermaelen
The Arsenal club captain is contracted until 2015, but he has spent the bulk of the past two seasons on the bench as Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny have struck up a formidable partnership. Despite admitting he is happy at the Emirates, he has confirmed that he will look at the situation if he remains out of favour. Having burst onto the Premier League when he joined the club in 2009, injury hampered the Belgian and he soon fell out of favour when Koscielny joined Mertesackker in the heart of the defence.
7/8 Lukas Podolski
The German’s run-out against Sunderland on the weekend was just the fifth time in his Arsenal career that Podolski has completed 90 minutes. While he exuberates the feel-good atmosphere currently surrounding the Gunners squad, and is part of an ever-growing number of Germans under Wenger’s guidance, he could lose patience with his inconsistency when it comes to first team selection.
8/8 Arsene Wenger
The manager himself is yet to commit to a new contract, and while his extension is expected imminently (it may already be a case of deal-done) he future cannot be made clear until an announcement is made. A collapse during their difficult March schedule could see a new contract thrown into jeopardy.
Wenger will be aware that there are two goalkeepers of the highest calibre potentially available this summer.
Barcelona stopper Victor Valdes has already announced he will leave the Nou Camp when his deal expires at the end of the season. The 32-year-old is keen for a new challenge but Arsenal will face stiff competition for the Spaniard's signature, particular with mega-rich Monaco among those linked with a move.
Valdes' Spanish team-mate Iker Casillas could also be available this summer. The Real Madrid stalwart has found himself regularly playing understudy to Diego Lopez for a second season in a row and may decide the time is right to leave the Bernabeu, despite spending his entire career with Los Blancos. Should the Spain captain become available, much like Valdes, competition for his signature will be fierce. Real Madrid's willingness to let the 32-year-old go may depend on finding a suitable replacement, with some reports suggesting they will launch a bid for Manchester City's Joe Hart.
Szczesny said recently: “I am not afraid to fight for number one with anyone, Fabianski or Casillas.
"I hope I won't make the boss think, 'Wojciech's not my No 1'. It's all my hands. I am in the best form of my life."
Those comments came before last weekend's 6-0 defeat.
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