After the dreadful horror in the last Premier League game, Arsene Wenger is under immense pressure to drop Manuel Almunia in the forthcoming home game against Blackburn Rovers. The boss was non-committal when asked in press conference whether he is planning to do just so.
The candidate to take over is none other than Jens Lehmann. The German stopper is schedule to start tonight’s reserves game against Wigan. That would be his first game in over 10 months. We will have to see how he reacts after the game tonight. Whether his body is able to adapt back into competitive football once again. The reserves is no measuring yardstick but it will at least tell us something.
The way the situation is with the goalkeeping department, rumours are rife possible transfer targets. A Dutchman and a German are the 2 names being linked. Maarten Stekelenburg and Manuel Neuer, both current first choice for their respective countries are the name being touted about. There is no doubt that given the chance and if Wenger are truly interested to go for either of these two, that their arrival to Arsenal would bring about a level of comfort to me.
They would no doubt cost a lot of money. Money so big that for a keeper that if it was really spent, they would surely have to be first choice at the club. There is only 1 reason why that cannot be allowed. Wojciech Szczesny. Wenger is not known to bring in a proven international who, given their respective ages, could very well be here for years as that would hamper the progress of Szczesny. Although again, given the option, I would not mind having a 20 million keeper as the backup.
Speaking of the lack of playing chances, Jack Wilshere is having a problem exactly the opposite. Now, he will have way too much game to play in. Of course, this includes the upcoming European U-21 Championship in the summer. Wilshere has stated that he wants to play. It’s a no-brainer. Should he be chosen to go, he would surely play the full 90 in every single game that England is involve in.
The problem therein lies in the fact that should he play this summer, he would be playing non-stop football for 3 consecutive years. In that period, he would have completed 3 Premier League seasons, the European Championship and this U-21 competition. That is a lot of football for someone so young. True, he does have age on his side which will help his recuperation but we’ve seen how young players suffer burnouts when they reach 22, 23 years of age due to too much football.
Another problem for me is that, by going to the age group competition, there is nothing for him to gain. Wilshere has obviously reached a higher standard than his peers. He will not learn anything from this tournament that he cannot pick up at London Colney. Nothing that playing in the Champions League against the likes of Barcelona cannot give him. In this case, I fear the choice is not in our hands or even in the hands of Wenger.