EDITOR’S NOTE: Please welcome Nathan Reynolds to The Short Fuse!
It’s set to be a transitional summer for Arsenal. Unai Emery’s first real chance to put his stamp on the direction of the squad. As many as 9 or 10 players may exit the club. Emery’s work, and Arsenal’s, isn’t about just one transfer window but beginning to rebuild the squad to compete for the Champions League both in the near and long term future.
In this series, Building The Arsenal, we will look at each position - the current depth chart, contract situations for each of the players, projecting their individual futures, and the club’s objectives for the upcoming transfer window this summer. In today’s first installment, we’ll look at the goalkeepers.
After spending £22.50m to bring in Bernd Leno last summer, the Arsenal goalkeeping position seems secure, if not a strength, heading into Unai Emery’s first season. It only took a few weeks for Leno to unseat Petr Cech as the regular starter and shift him to the “Cup keeper” role. Meanwhile, three Arsenal keepers were sent out on loan.
Current Depth Chart
Arsenal currently have five keepers on the books, with three out on loan this season. With two experienced keepers and no injuries thus far, this has been one of Emery’s easiest positions in year one.
- Starter: Bernd Leno (27 years old, £22.50m)
- Backup: Petr Cech (36, £2.25m)
- The Future: Matt Macey (24, £450k, on loan at Plymouth Argyle)
- Depth: Emiliano Martinez (26, £900k, on loan at Reading) & David Ospina (30, £4.5m, on loan at Napoli)
*Transfer values taken from Transfermrkt - Arsenal.
With two contracts set to expire and two keepers with doubtful futures at Arsenal, plenty of decisions await in the summer.
- Bernd Leno - Under contract through June 2023.
- Petr Cech - Contract expires on June 30th, 2019. Set to retire at the end of the season. His wages of £110/week frees up needed funds.
- Matt Macey - Contract expires on June 30th, 2019.
- Emiliano Martinez - Under contract until June 2022.
- David Ospina - Under contract until June 2020.
Objectives for Summer 2019 Transfer Window
Emery’s first full summer window should be busy, despite not having unlimited funds to play with. Arsenal need upgrades at several positions, but the main question at the goalkeeper position is whether Emery values Ospina enough as a viable option to keep him around as Leno’s backup next season. Otherwise, if Ospina & Martinez need to clear out, that, plus the savings on Cech’s wages, might be enough to bring someone else in as the backup keeper.
- Bernd Leno - No action needed. Leno should be the starter for the next few seasons, with Arsenal needing to focus on other areas of the pitch.
- Petr Cech - Retiring. Should Arsenal look into keeping the veteran around in role as backup GK coach or with the Academy?
- Matt Macey - Time to decide if he has a future to challenge at least as the backup at Arsenal. Most likely will be given another year and loaned out next season.
- Emiliano Martinez - Time to sell, unless Arsenal prefer him over Macey as the depth option.
- David Ospina - 22 matches, 23 goals conceded and 7 clean sheets for Napoli. If Arsenal can get £4-5m for him, either to secure a permanent loan to Napoli or elsewhere in Europe, they should take it. Otherwise he could return as the backup to Leno if Arsenal determine no funds can be spent at the position.
- New Signings - If Ospina and Martinez are sold, those funds could be used to sign a new backup with EPL experience.
Projected 2019/20 Depth Chart
- Starter: Bernd Leno
- Backup: Summer Signing with EPL experience
- Future Prospect: Matt Macey (out on loan)
After a solid debut season from Bernd Leno, how are you feeling about him as the Arsenal #1 in the years ahead? Is Ospina even worth a return as his backup, or would you prefer another EPL keeper in that role (i.e. Martin Dubravka)? Does Matt Macey have a chance of securing the #2 role, even after a potential 2019/20 season on loan?