When we last left Arsenal they had just signed midfielder Mesut Ozil. This signing came with a lot of fanfare, not only because Ozil is a quality player, but also because Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger actually spent money. But that’s another story.
Lost in all the hoopla is the fact that Arsenal also signed yet another goalkeeper. His name is . . . Um . . . I know he’s Italian . . . Well, at least he’s not French.
Say what you will about Wenger and his affinity for players from his home country, he is yet to sign a French ‘keeper. Not that there is anything wrong with French goalkeepers. *cough* Fabian Barthez *cough cough* They can be loads of fun… When they play for the opposing side.
Will the new guy be any good? No clue. I don’t even know if he’ll get a chance. Then again he might play this Saturday. That’s the way things have gone for the Gunners in the past decade or so.
David Seaman was the long time number one for Arsenal and the England National Team. When Wenger decided not to renew Seaman’s contract for the 2003-2004 season he signed with Manchester City. This was in the days before it became popular for Gunners to move to City. Seaman was always a bit of a trendsetter.
Late in the 2002-2003 season when it looked less and less likely that Seaman would be returning I was one of those who thought the number 1 shirt should be passed to back-up ‘keeper Stuart Taylor. Taylor always played well when given the chance, and many were touting him as a possible starter for England. The England goalkeeping situation is actually more dire than Arsenal’s, but I’m not going to mention Robert Green. Let’s say that the US National Team has the ‘keeper situation sorted and leave it there.
Arsenal brought in Jens Lehmann for the 2003-2004 season. It seemed a bit weird at the time, but who would bet against a German in a penalty shootout? It turned out to be one of the rare occasions when Wenger got it right ‘keeper-wise. Anyone else remember Richard Wright’s spell at the club? I know we would all like to forget it.
Stuart Taylor eventually left Arsenal and spent a lot of time sitting on the benches of a few mid-table clubs. He got a few chances to play here and there, but he never fufilled his potential. I have no idea what happened.
Jens Lehmann turned out to be a great goalkeeper for Arsenal… When he wasn’t busy going all Jens Lehmann, which is totally different from going all Fabien Barthez.
Lehmann had the tendency to get very angry and very shouty. It didn’t help matters that he was the master of the ill-timed tackle. It was exactly that sort of tackle that got him sent off in the 2006 Champions League Final against Barcelona.
After the sending off Manuel Almunia went into the net. He was one of a long list of Arsenal’s back-up ‘keepers. Does the name Rami Shabaan ring any bells?
Manuel Almunia became number one after Jens Lehmann’s eventual departure. Almunia’s tenure lasted a few seasons, but he soon fell out of favor and was relegated to the bench.
For a while there the position of first choice goalkeeper was in flux. One week it would be Lukasz Fabianski, the next it was Vito Mannone. Lately the first choice ‘keeper has been Wojciech Szczesny. I hope I spelled his name correctly. I think that he has done well for the club, but, as an Arsenal supporter I have to wonder how long it will be before Emiliano Viviano takes a turn in net.