Signing Petr Cech was one shrewd piece of transfer business by Arsene Wenger. The former Chelsea custodian maintained his class and consistency initially but has been clumsy and erroneous of late and asked for an apology to the Gunners fans following his goalkeeping howlers against Brighton & Hove Albion.
However, the Czech legend saved a penalty and kept a clean sheet against Watford to become the first ever goalkeeper in PL history to maintain 200 clean sheets.
Nevertheless, the 35-year-old Premier League veteran is coming towards the twilight of a colourful football career and Arsenal, currently struggling in the league, are looking for his long-term successor.
David Ospina was expected to replace Wojciech Szczesny as club’s No.1 but had to sacrifice his slot to the iconic Czech international. The 29-year-old custodian has not convinced Wenger and is unlikely to have a regular role anytime soon.
Wenger, known for scouting and nurturing promising prodigies, is reportedly keen on France U20 international keeper Alban Lafont. The teenager has progressed through the youth ranks of Ligue 1 side Toulouse and is already close to making 100 senior appearances for the French outfit.
Toulouse are struggling and fighting for survival but the youngster has been sensational throughout and is drawing interests from several big guns of Europe. Napoli are also chasing his signature to replace veteran Pepe Reina. AS Roma are also aware of his potential and are plotting a swoop in case they fail to keep hold of Liverpool target Alisson Becker.
Arsenal have kept hold of former Argentine youth international Emiliano Martinez, who has not been in Wenger’s plans. He was loaned out repeatedly for seasons, one after another. Although he signed a contract extension at North London, Martinez’s current spell at Getafe has not been impressive as well and the goalkeeper is quite unlikely to register a regular slot in the Gunners’ first-team.
Wenger’s time as Arsenal boss looks numbered but the Frenchman seems determined to build a squad for the future, capable of reclaiming the lost throne and winning titles.
Lafont is 6ft 4in tall and holds all the traits to be a successful modern-day custodian. He is not only a great shot-stopper but is also brave enough to come off his lines with confidence and composure. He distributes the ball well, has great reflexes and is also undaunted in one-on-one situations. Arsenal, if they sign Lafont, will have a gem of a custodian to protect their goal for years to come.
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