Arsenal have found their number one ‘keeper for the next number of years in Bernd Leno. The German has proven time and again this season that he is up to the task of minding the net at the Emirates. However, with Petr Cech retiring and David Ospina most likely joining Napoli permanently, Arsenal will need to name a new number two.
Arsenal’s Backup Goalkeeper Options for 2019/20
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Like any big club, Arsenal do have a few young goalkeepers waiting in the wings. The oldest of these internal options is Emiliano Martinez, currently on loan in the Championship with Reading. The 26-year-old Argentine has just 14 first-team appearances in an Arsenal shirt despite joining the club in 2010.
To be fair, the player has kept three clean sheets for Reading since joining on loan in January. However, it is also fair to say this is the best he has played in his career to date. Considering his age and dearth of experience, it would be a huge gamble to rely on Martinez as the number two next season.
Another on-loan option would be Matt Macey. The 24-year-old Englishman is spending the season with Plymouth Argyle in League One. Much like Martinez, Macey doesn’t have much of any first-team experience with Arsenal, playing just two matches for the north Londoners.
While he isn’t as old as the Argentine, Macey’s lack of experience would make him another hard sell for the role of number two. It would probably be best for the player to let him be a sort of number three next season, playing in just the Carabao Cup and then going out on loan in January.
Finally, Arsenal also have Deyan Iliev at the club, who is also 24. Unlike the previous two goalies on this list, Iliev does not have any top-flight experience. Therefore, becoming the new number two is definitely too big of an ask for the Macedonia native.
Sadly, unless either Martinez or Macey really impresses between now and the end of the season, neither are likely to earn the number two shirt for Arsenal next season.
Since none of the goalkeepers at the club are ready for the responsibility of a number two, the obvious next option would be the transfer market. However, with so many areas of need in the summer, the question is just how much money would Arsenal spend on a backup goalkeeper?
With the second-most goals shipped in the top six, the squad certainly needs a quality centre-back. Fullback is another problem area with Nacho Monreal possibly leaving the club in the summer and Stephan Lichtsteiner proving a less than adequate right-back.
The team has also looked dangerously devoid of width at times this season, meaning a winger may also come into the club. So, safe to say, if the Gunners can avoid coughing up a transfer fee on a new number two, they should.
Players love moving on a free as they get much larger signing-on bonuses. Clubs tend to enjoy them as their rivals don’t collect a transfer fee. So, it would appear that signing a free agent goalkeeper would suit Arsenal nicely this summer.
West Ham United‘s former number one was supplanted in 2018 by former Gunner Lukasz Fabianski. The former Swansea City shot-stopper went down with the Welsh side but was luckily allowed to leave in order to stay in the Premier League. Since then, there has been no doubt about who should wear the number one shirt for the Hammers.
Although he’s hardly played this season, Adrián boasts over a century of Premier League appearances to his name. While he may want to go elsewhere to try and regain his status as a number one, he may also want to move to a larger club with a fat salary and the possibility of winning a trophy at some point.
The Mexican international is somewhat reminiscent of David Ospina. Both are the undisputed number ones for their national teams with loads of experience but just never quite got their dream club job.
Guillermo Ochoa has exactly 100 appearances for Mexico but his highest-profile club job came at Malaga. He now plies his trade for Standard Liege of the Belgian Pro League, where he is first-choice between the sticks.
Now age 33, Ochoa may wish to continue as a big fish in a small pond. Liege also have a club option to keep him at the club for an additional season. Then again, perhaps he could be tempted by the bright lights of London and a chance with a bigger club than he’s ever played for before.
The Romanian international has 52 caps for his country. He’s also played for Fiorentina in Serie A and currently lines up for Nantes in Ligue 1. Tătăruşanu has made 170 appearances for those two clubs across all competitions.
So, much like the previous two ‘keepers, he has loads of experience. While the previous two are more high-profile and would, therefore, garner more interest, Ciprian Tătăruşanu still seems a sturdy option for a number two.
He would also probably agree to a slightly lesser signing-on fee and wages than either Adrián or Ochoa. While the previous two would be preferable, don’t discount the Romanian.
The Gunners will face a difficult decision this summer when it comes to their backup goalkeeper options. While there are a few players already at the squad who could do the job, Arsenal should look to the free agent market.
This would save them money and still get them a shot-stopper with plenty of experience and the ability to do a job in the cups as well as in Europe.
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