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Arsenal to Agree Loan Extension for Wojciech Szczesny

The goalkeeping situation at the club was one conundrum for Arsene Wenger at the start of the season. Petr Cech’s arrival last season saw Wojciech Szczesny loaned out to AS Roma, as David Ospina dropped to the role of Cech’s deputy. It was a successful debut campaign by Cech’s fair standards, as his 16 clean sheets in the Premier League saw him win the Golden Glove award for the second time in three seasons.

With the legendary Czech goalie retiring from international football, he was shifting his focus to club football, which ultimately means that he would be the custodian between Arsenal’s sticks for years to come. This meant that Wenger had to sort out the player that would serve as Cech’s #2 in the new campaign, as Szczesny returned from his spell at Roma, while David Ospina is still on holidays after a great bronze-winning campaign with Colombia at the recently concluded Copa America.

According to Forza Italian Football, Arsenal is set to agree a loan extension with Roma over the services of the Polish shot stopper. Szczesny enjoyed a good Champions League qualification campaign with Roma, making 42 appearances (34 in Serie A) and claiming eight clean sheets. He averaged 2.09 saves per game, made about 26% punches, a distribution success of 72% and an outstanding 99% claim success, which was one of the best in the league. All stats via Squawka.

It’s also believed that Arsenal and Roma would split Szczesny’s €3 million-a-year contract evenly, even though that contract is scheduled to expire in 2018.

I wish Szczesny the best in this loan spell, in his bid to continue playing first-team football consistently.

Sayonara

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Arsenal Euro 2016 Update: Ozil Provides Assist and Szczesny Keeps Clean Sheet

Euro 2016 began with a rather pulsating encounter between Turkey and Croatia. Anything I think about the Croatian national team, my mind takes me back to the 1998 World Cup in France when Davor Suker had such a great tournament with support from Robert Prosinecki, Zvonimir Boban and Mario Stannis Baratheon, or Stanic, as he’s known in Croatia.

The new generation of Croatian football stars juggernauts like Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic, Milan Badelj and of course, the golden boy of Croatian football, Luka Modric, that scored a wonder goal that settled the match. There were a lot of close shaves in the game but Croatia deserved to leave the pitch with three points in the bag.

Three hours after the Croatia win, Poland kicked off their tournament with a clash against Northern Ireland. There were some familiar Premier League faces in the Northern Ireland squad with West Brom duo, Jonny Evans and Gareth McAuley, Watford’s Craig Eric Cartman Cathcart. Southampton’s Steven Davis (can you remember his double against Spurs?) and that young Manchester United  bloke that almost snapped Jack Wilshere’s ankle in half, Paddy Power McNair.

Wojceich Szczesny showed his aerial dominance and put up a matured performance in goal for his country. His resolve will be tested in his next game against Germany but Poland can take some solace from the fact that they beat the Germans in the qualifiers. The qualifying top scorer and talisman, Robert Lewandowski, fired blanks but the Poles had Arkadiusz Milik to thank, as his goal from Kuba’s assist was enough to give the team three points.

Finally, Germany played the last game of the night against Ukraine. Joachim Loew made up for Mats Hummels injury by replacing the Bayern-bound defender with Shkodran Mustafi and that faith was repaid as the Valencia center back nodded Toni Kroos inswinger to give the world champions the lead. Germany sealed the game late on when Mesut Ozil threaded an inch-perfect pass to Bastian Schweinsteiger who finished aplomb.

More on the players as the competition progresses.

Sayonara

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Does Wojciech Szczesny Still Have a Future at Arsenal?

Roma's goalkeeper from Poland Wojciech Szczesny celebrates after teammate Roma's forward from Ivory Coast Gervinho scored during the Italian Serie A football match Fiorentina vs AS Roma on October 25, 2015 at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI

When the likes of Manuel Almunia, Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone departed Arsenal, it was evident that Wojciech Szczesny was going to be the club’s No. 1 for years to come… so he thought. He was closing in on 200 appearances for the club and he didn’t believe that David Ospina would be a threat but when he messed up badly against Southampton at St. Mary’s, he paved the way for the Colombian and he found himself on the fringes at the club.

Then Arsenal made a bold move in the summer – signing Petr Cech from rivals, Chelsea. Many believed that Ospina would be shipped out to accommodate the big Czech but no one, including Szczesny, saw the Polish shot stopper leaving the club after so many years of service but hey, that’s football.

A few months on, Szczesny now plies his trade for AS Roma and he’s playing consistent football for the Italian giants that are currently sitting on third place in the Serie A table after seven wins, two draws and two defeats in their firts 11 games, but Szczesny still harbors hopes of playing for the Gunners again,

“Anything can happen in nine months, so I don’t know what will happen at the end of the season. However Arsenal are like my family. If somebody would have told me a year ago that I would be playing for Roma I wouldn’t have believed them, but this is football.

“I must admit that if Arsenal called me back I would say yes.”

As it stands, it’s only Arsene Wenger that can determine whether Szczesny still has a future at Arsenal. Cech is 33 and is raking in the clean sheets like crazy and I expect him to be in Arsenal’s goal for many years. Ospina has more or less accepted his status as the deputy goalie so it’s going to be interesting to see how the situation is managed by Wenger.

If I’m Szczesny, I would focus on doing well at Roma. I’m pretty sure Wenger has deployed some scouts to Italy to monitor his progress. It’s too early for the goalie to start thinking about his Arsenal future.

Sayonara.

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