Szczesny arrived at the club from Legia Warsaw as a 16 year-old in 2006, moving through the youth academy and a loan spell at Brentford, ultimately becoming a consistent first-team player in 2010. Throughout his first few years at Arsenal as a senior member of the squad, Szczesny had to compete against fellow keepers Łukasz Fabiański and Manuel Almunia for playing time, but with Alumnia’s release in 2012 and Fabiański’s transfer to Swansea City in 2014, it appeared that Szczesny cemented his spot between the sticks for many years to come.
However, his career at Arsenal came crashing down after his ill-advised cigarette break in the showers following the infamous New Year’s Day defeat at Southampton in 2015. He failed to appear in a league match the rest of the season, making a final appearance for the club in their FA Cup Final victory over Aston Villa that May. A two-year loan stint to AS Roma ensued but, despite what many classified as a successful stay in the Italian capital, it appears the damage between Szczesny and Arsene Wenger was too much to overcome for the keeper to stay at the club.
That Szczesny is being sold for an extremely paltry sum of money is telling. That Wenger farmed him out two years in a row despite his overall quality and the fact that David Opsina - a much inferior keeper - stuck around didn’t help Arsenal’s value versus what the market knew they could get him for; buyers knew the relationship at Arsenal was irreparable. That Szczesny is being sold to Juventus - Serie A champions a record thirty-three times, including the last six seasons - to be the eventual replacement for the legendary Gianluigi Buffon should be evidence enough that the guy is highly-regarded among the best and biggest clubs in the world. After all, as many have pointed out, he led the league last season in clean sheets.
It’s truly a shame that his departure came down to reasons that only extend past the pitch. We wish him all the luck at Juventus, however given that he’s going to a club that values talent above all else he will need little of what we only have to offer.