Arsenal recently confirmed the signing of goalkeeper Bernd Leno from Bayern Leverkusen. The 26-year-old has been a long-term target of the Gunners and could be first-choice between the sticks next season.
With Petr Cech’s form being inconsistent ever since he joined Arsenal from Chelsea in 2015 and David Ospina failing to wrestling back a starting place in the side, fans had been calling on the club to sign a new shot-stopper.
Their wish has finally been granted this summer, but Leno’s arrival brings about a problem of having too many options ahead of the new season. As things stand, the Gunners have five first-team goalkeepers – Leno, Cech, David Ospina, Matt Macey and Emiliano Martinez – so who will go and who will stay?
Leno is expected to be first-choice at Arsenal next season given they paid £22m to procure his signature, but there’s reason to believe Cech could yet retain his starting place. The 36-year-old was given the recently given the No.1 jersey, having previously worn 33, which surely suggests he’ll continue being first-choice in the Premier League?
Cech was the player most fans had a problem with, however, as the former Chelsea ‘keeper was guilty of making a number of errors leading to goals last season. He conceded 48 goals in 34 Premier League outings in 2017/18 and endured a run of 11 games without keeping a clean sheet between mid-December and mid-March.
It’s been claimed that Leno could take time to adapt at Arsenal and still has a lot of developing to do before he’ll be top-level goalkeeper, which highlights why Cech’s experience could be important next season – he’ll be able to mentor Leno and provide a somewhat safe pair of hands in the last year of his deal.
If Cech is to stay at Arsenal for another year, Ospina will almost certainly leave. He was only convinced to stay last summer as he’d be used in the Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup, but if he’s not even second in the pecking order next season it’s hard to see why he’d stay.
The Colombian international leaving could present a problem, however, as Ospina is only 29 years old and surely has more years ahead of him than Cech does. If Arsenal let Ospina leave, Cech wouldn’t be far behind next summer and they’d be left with the inexperienced Macey and Martinez as second and third-choice options.
Cech has been linked with a loan move to Napoli, but it’s unlikely a deal will go through. Many may be expected to see Leno as their new first-choice goalkeeper under new manager Unai Emery, but it could prove to be more complicated than that.