Szczesny’s Roma Loan Could Make Him Our Courtois
Yesterday Arsène Wenger confirmed that bar a few formalities Wojciech Szczesny would join Roma on loan for the season.
With the arrival of Petr Cech, the young Pole was going to find minutes hard to come by and that isn’t even factoring in the potential of him still being behind David Ospina in the pecking order. As such a loan move could make perfect sense.
Only the most ardent Ospina critic would claim binning him after one season isn’t harsh – especially when you look at his performances; he hasn’t really done anything wrong.
When we signed Cech I said it showed a ruthless side to Wenger that many had complained he lacked. The arrival of a goalkeeper of Cech’s stature meant one of Ospina and Szczesny was going to see themselves shipped out. Ospina likely would have moved permanently, and there were rumours of interest from Turkey, which would have been cold treatment. Szczesny moving on would have been giving up on a player who we all know to possess bags of potential but who seems limited by his own inflated ego at times.
A loan move for Szczesny is the perfect outcome. It allows Ospina to not just have been a one season footnote and possibly move on next summer if he is struggling with being a no.2, and it may broaden Szczesny’s horizons a bit allowing him to appreciate what he has at Arsenal.
I’ve often said I find Wojciech to be quite a cyclical player moving in perpetuity from one of the best keepers in the league to ego-caused liability. Perhaps a part of that has been a real lack of competition, a player who would likely keep their place even if they made an error. Had Ospina dropped an Almunia-esque clanger during his stint it’s probable Wojciech would have been back in the team for the next game – this is unlikely to happen with Cech, who’s also quite unlikely to drop a huge clanger.
Szczesny has so much to learn from Cech but delaying his education by one year isn’t going to stop him from learning. Much like a student travelling on their gap year some time abroad for Szczesny might help his education – and willingness to learn – than just diving straight into the classroom.
The loan to Roma could help him appreciate what an incredible opportunity he has to play at one of the world’s biggest clubs in arguably the best league. Were Szczesny to continue on his current path would he find himself at Arsenal for much longer?
Continuing to play is important as he has played for so long but just as important is his openness to learning from Cech which would be increased if he comes back fresh from a season abroad with a year’s worth of brilliant Cech performances throwing down the gauntlet.
Wojciech will find it hard displacing Cech if he immediately plays the role of backup. With scant opportunity to prove he can be as good as or better than the incumbent he could find himself waiting for years – if he is patient enough – to eventually play once Petr retires. In that scenario he has become number 1 by default and once again has never really earned his place. Could we be back at square one?
Arsenal were afforded the opportunity to sign Cech because he found himself sidelined by one of the world’s best goalkeepers in Thibaut Courtois but had Courtois been a long term number 2 would that have been the case?
Szczesny’s loan to Roma could help him fine tune his mentality and return to oust Cech from between the sticks just as Courtois’ loan enabled him to demonstrate his worthiness to Chelsea on more than just longevity.
The winner from this loan, regardless of how it plays out, will be Arsenal. The Gunners will either stop wasting time on a player unable to reach his early promising or will welcome back a player with a renewed desire to prove himself, eager to learn from one of the best keepers in Premier League history, and with the tools required to become the Arsenal great he has so oft been tipped to be.
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