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Wojicech Szczesny – Were We Right To Sell?

Posted originally on Arsenal Mania

Wojicech Szczesny spent 11 years at Arsenal. In that time, and growing as a player through the Gunners ranks, his attachment to the club unsurprisingly grew. Over a decade at the club he supported as a boy, the bond the Pole had with Arsenal only became stronger.


So it was with an undoubtedly heavy heart that he bade farewell to North London recently, when he was offered the chance to play for Juventus and work alongside Gianluigi Buffon – the keeper that most consider to be this generation’s finest exponent between the sticks.


The prospect for his career was simply too good to turn down, but was it the right decision for Arsenal?












With last season’s miasma of horrors still so hard to erase from our mind’s eye, many of us fans looked to Szczesny’s efforts on loan at Roma, and with Petr Cech letting his high standards slip – it appeared as though we had the perfect remedy to clam up our porous team.


There are many other facets to this transfer though, that have not risen to the surface as prominently as the above though.


Szczesny performed way above expectation in Serie A last campaign, but the level of competition between the two league’s is still different. A perfect example of this is Gervinho – the Ivorian was an abject failure in an Arsenal shirt, but when playing for Roma only a few seasons ago, he looked like an accomplished professional. It is especially easier to grab clean sheets in the attritional playing styles of Italy too.


True, it looked as if the Polish keeper with a penchant for selfies at White Hart Lane had indeed acquired the one thing that stopped him being a great keeper at Arsenal – consistency. We can give him the benefit of the doubt, but can we forget?


Twice, the Number1 shirt was in his grasp in his time in London, and twice, continued erratic displays meant that Wenger had no choice but to drop him – once for Lukasz Fabainski and once for David Ospina. Five seasons was spent trying to establish himself and firmly rebuff all other goalkeeping competitors, but he never quite managed it. Whether it be silly mistakes on the pitch, like when he fouled Gabby Agbonlahor in the 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa, or when he was caught smoking in the showers, Szczesny couldn’t quite leave the doubts behind.


Now, after two excellent seasons in Rome, he was given an opportunity to work at Juventus. It would have been impossible to turn down, but what really rankles is that, why did Arsenal not hold out for more money?


Considering the experience that Szczesny has, and his still relatively young age, his transfer worth must have been higher than the reported meagre fee that we have received. When a young English keeper plays one season of top-flight football, gets relegated and then commands a £30m fee – that should have correlated into a higher fee for Wojicech too.


The fanbase, when poring over tweets and posts on social media, seems to be undecided on whether Wojicech Szczesny was the long-term answer in goal for our club, but we can all agree that he is worth far more than Juventus are scantily paying us. 

Goodbye Szczesny, and thanks for the memories….

Original post on Goonersphere

On the 5th of August, there was a piece of transfer news that slipped under the radar somewhat regarding Arsenal.

A player had left the Gunners fold, one who is held in high regard by fans. Wojicech Szczesny was declared to have left Arsenal on loan once more as he did last season – the destination once more was Roma.

This felt a little different to last season however. Szczesny moved initially to ensure minutes on the pitch, with a view to reminding Arsene Wenger what he is capable of. Thirty four appearances and a third placed Serie A finish later, Szczesny could look back on an accomplished campaign.

He must have returned to Colney with renewed hope of ousting current first choice goalkeeper Petr Cech, or at least enjoying a duel with the Czech stopper. The news he must have received though, could not have been to his taste, as he once more looks to play in Rome for the season.

A second season long loan indicates that Szczesny’s Arsenal career is hanging by a thread. The situation he finds himself in is that the position he desires is unattainable at present. Petr Cech holds – and deserves to – the first choice goalkeeping slot. Does Wojicech have the patience to wait for his dream to come to fruition?

The Pole has never been short of confidence, which in turn has been his strength and his greatest weakness. In the 2013/14 season he shared the Golden Glove award with the same man who blocks his passage at Arsenal – Cech – and his future seemed assured. The next season saw Szczesny lose concentration on a number of occasions and his rise to prominence was halted a little.

Szczesny’s Arsenal career has been a series of peaks and troughs. A season of dependable displays and assured displays were surely followed by a campaign which was evidence of the chinks in his armour. 

There has never been doubts surrounding his talent, but his mentality has been subject to scrutiny. The position he so craves at the club he clearly adores was in his grasp – twice – but mistakes made were to plant doubt in the manager’s mind. This was swiftly followed by a spell on the bench – or a new goalkeeper coming in.

Reportedly, Roma have a clause inserted into the loan deal which allows them the first look at a permanent deal for Wojicech. A second season at the Stadio Olimpico shows that Luciano Spalletti rates him highly, and Szczesny will no doubt enjoy the fact he is the undisputed number one for his team. 

So all things appear to point toward a departure from Arsenal for our Polish keeper. If a poll asked one hundred Gooners about their opinions regarding him, would he be rated above David Ospina? The Colombian has rarely put a foot wrong since joining, but doesn’t enjoy the bond with the fans that Szczesny has. Will Szczesny be missed?

Szczesny has been responsible for some fantastic memories – none more so than his celebrations after a North London derby victory – and his antics via social media have been a tenable link between fans and the players we laud on the pitch. He enjoyed the spotlight we shone on him, and he in turn gave us something we all enjoyed, which was a player we could relate to. We could all see the fan in him, that aspect of him that took great joy from victory, just like us.

He is a fantastic shot stopper, and has no problem owning his box. He has also shown he can attain consistency over a whole season. It is when he has no one breathing down his neck that Wojicech suffers with blips in his performance. A second season in Serie A will undoubtedly benefit him, but if we were to recall him, would he be content with the Number two slot?

Petr Cech has plenty of life in him, but David Ospina will surely look to other offers with a second season as deputy. That would mean a spot opening up on the Arsenal goalkeeping roster, but will Szczesny’s ego allow him to sit in the shadows for a season or two, until the first choice opening becomes available?

For now, we must keep an eye on his results in Rome, and when this season ends, it is his choice to make. Utilise patience, and allow himself the chance to be a Gunners icon for many seasons? Or choose to leave? 

Jack On Loan To Bournemouth – Wilshere-ly Be Back?

Every club has their fan favourites.

These players enjoy the adulation a little more than most, and the reason they can bask in the love varies.

Some of these idols bang in the goals with unerring frequency. Others typify the battling qualities that the fans identify with. Others fall into a ‘cult classic’ mould, due to their lenght of time with the club and lack of flair – a la Tony Hibbert.

Then you have players who have represented the club all the way through the youth ranks, and have an obvious love affair with the crest they carry on their chest.

That is Jack Wilshere.

News of his season-long loan departure has strains of positivity, but dominating the thoughts and feedback surrounding his move is one of regret and sadness.

Injury has ever been Wilshere’s nemesis, and his alarming stat of only making 119 Premier League starts in his entire career spells his problem out as clear as crystal.

His loan move to Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth is the chance for Wilshere to finally remind the critics that his talent makes him England’s most talented midfielder. 

It is still difficult to make sense of though. Wilshere, meant to be one of the more talented of our squad, spending a season on loan at minnows Bournemouth? 

Who’d have thought it? The issue though, is memory. 

It is merely memory that fuels the criticism that follows Jack, or lack of it. We have to hark back to 2013-14 for a season relatively unhindered by injury – and Wilshere reinforcing belief that he can be Arsenal and England’s future.

Jack will join up with former Gunner and childhood friend Benik Afobe and it cannot be dismissed how important this factor is. All new surroundings (Jack having been at Arsenal his whole career), setting up home for a year, and the problem of commuting back to Hertfordshire to see his family will cause slight problems, so a friend to aid them in the lonely difficult times may allow Jack to concentrate on matters on the pitch.

 There is the small matter of adapting to a different style and requirements of him. One thing is for sure, if he maintains fitness – something that has been beyond him – then the men who are his positional rivals cannot hope to match his burst of speed, vision and transitional capabilities. 

One major asset of his move to the South Coast team is the manager. Eddie Howe has forged a reputation as a boss who utilises new ideas, and gets his team to play their own football, rather than reacting to opposition tactics. It is daring, but Jack can learn more from Howe. More importantly, he will be used in the correct way.

It seemed as if Wilshere was off to Roma to join fellow loanee Szczesny, but due to bad blood between the sides thanks to transfer negotiations for Roma defender Manolas going awry, Arsenal have opted for the Cherries.

It is a good thing too. Roma have Strootman, De Rossi, Paredes and Nianggolan in central midfield – and the whole point of Wilshere being loaned out is to gain minutes on the pitch.

Jack adores our club, and we adore him. The fact we have had fleeting glimpses of the man with the errant tongue has made this loan deal so bittersweet.

It is obvious it is for his benefit, it is clear that it could make him a better player. We know he needs minutes. 

To just see him in a different jersey will seem alien, but he needs a regular opportunity to test those troublesome limbs. If he had stayed, then he would continue to get sporadic minutes. Santi Cazorla is ahead of him, and there may be a chance to get in the starting lineup through injury, but at Roma, he will be leaving with the promise of more minutes.

Jack must return to cement the potential of legendary status he possesses. If fitness was no issue, then the captains armband would be adorning his arm, but alas, it hasn’t materialised. 

Bournemouth  beckons, and perhaps a last chance to grab a future at Arsenal. 

Good luck  Jack. Gooners everywhere will be following your every move.