As it stands, Arsenal are currently heading into the new season with just one senior goalkeeper, but, if news reports are to be believed, Arsenal could soon have an overload of options between the sticks. Despite being thought to have already agreed a transfer for Colombian stopper David Ospina, strong rumors in Spain still suggest that the Gunners are on the verge of welcoming Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas.
Having bid farewell to Lukasz Fabianski and Italian loanee Emiliano Viviano, there is no doubt that Arsène Wenger will be targeting support and perhaps competition for Wojciech Szczesny.
But Opsina, who it has been widely reported is set to arrive for around £3 million from Nice, appeared set to fill that void. Instead, leading Spanish publications Sport and El Confidencial have both gone big on reports that Arsenal have proposed Spain’s No.1 a contract offer of €9 million (£7m) a year that has persuaded Casillas to come to the Emirates.
The only barrier now is said to be whether Madrid will honor the claimed promise they made Casillas – to allow him to leave on a free transfer. While Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has said that Casillas will vie for Diego López for a starting role this season, the club are thought to be close to agreeing a deal for Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
It has been over 18 months since Casillas lost his place as first-choice goalkeeper at a club he has represented his whole career and for which he remains captain.
The 33-year-old did start for Madrid in cup competitions last season, including the Champions League where he helped them to the trophy. Yet, while undeniably one of the best shot-stoppers of all time, Casillas’ lack of playing time has exacerbated what has always been the weakest part of his game: controlling his area. A mistake for Atletico Madrid’s opening goal in the Champions League final was followed by a horrendous World Cup as champions Spain exited at the group stage.
Such performances may not have been reflective of Casillas’ ability once he gets regular game time under his belt, but the physical demands of the Premier League – where crosses are more common than Spain – would not appear the best fit for his abilities.
It is also a deal that would not fit at all with Wenger’s track record. Certainly if Arsenal were to commit such a sizable financial package on Casillas, it is unfathomable to think that he would not be the undisputed No. 1 at the Emirates.