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The goal-keeping position is once again under scrutiny at Arsenal as Vito Mannoneâ€™s errors against Fulham at the weekend have fuelled rumours that Arsene Wenger is looking to bring in a top quality stopper. Mannone has deputized for Wojciech Szczesny for most of the season and although the Italian has shown steady hands at times his inexperience has added to the defensive problems at the back for Arsenal.
The Daily Mail report that Wenger has short-listed Swanseaâ€™s Michel Vorm and Liverpoolâ€™s Pepe Reina, both of whom have in fact been on Arsenalâ€™s radar for quite a while now. Reina in particular has been a Wenger favourite, with the manager even making a move for the Spaniard after Rafa Benitez left Liverpool.
The need for an experienced head between the posts can never be underestimated, as Manchester United fans can attest to. Young keepers like Mannone and Szczesny might have the ability to pull off blinders but they lack the commanding attitude only senior keepers possess. The case of Jens Lehmann is a classic example as the German veteran was a giant in the penalty box, directing his defenders and making aerial balls his own. His eccentricity might have caused a fair few hairy moments but on the whole Lehmann was immense for the North-Londoners, famously playing every game during the 'Invincible' season.
Szczesny was seen as the replacement Arsenal had been hoping for as he made the keeperâ€™s jersey his own last season. But the Pole is still in his early 20s and could do with an experienced keeper alongside him to cut out the occasional errors.
Brazilian veteran Julio Cesar might have been the answer had he not chosen QPR at the last minute, with the Inter Milan keeper telling the English press: â€œI talked with Arsenal in the last transfer window, and they were really happy about me playing for them, but at the last minute I moved to QPR. QPR has a project, and I dream about that project coming true. But I came here because I was thinking about my future once I quit football, that's true."
Lukasz Fabianski still remains on the books at the Emirates, although the Polish International hasnâ€™t made an appearance so far this season due to injury. Mannone hasnâ€™t done an awful lot wrong though, with the 24 year old enjoying a fairly similar record to Szczesny, letting in 16 goals from 13 appearances as opposed to Szczesnyâ€™s record of 49 goals from 38 games last season. Szczesny is back to full-training after returning from injury and he should reclaim the gloves against Tottenham this week but in the long run Wenger is likely to bring in a new keeper, although Vorm and Reina might be out of his reach.
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