Could Sunderland's Jordan Pickford be a replacement for Petr Cech at Arsenal?
Whilst Petr Cech may well be the firm option as Arsenal’s number one for now, it seems that Arsenal Wenger and co. are preparing an audacious move for Sunderland’s young goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, according to reports. The England international, who was selected by Gareth Southgate as a late call-up but is yet to earn his first cap, has continued to earn rave reviews after making his first team breakthrough at the start of the season in a struggling side.
For the Gunners, there seems no real rush to replace Petr Cech, who is still producing quality displays despite being 34-years-old and having retired from international duty. At some point in the near future though, a replacement will be needed, and there seems to be a reluctance within the club to allow that responsibility to fall on the shoulders of second choice goalkeeper David Ospina.
Pickford would bring many of the qualities that the club are looking for, not only in that he is a young player who is already capable and proven in the Premier League, but that he also benefits from being English and having homegrown status. This will boost his value and make him a more expensive addition for Wenger, but is likely to be worthwhile.
Renowned for his superb shot stopping abilities and dominance in the box, Pickford has been one of few bright sparks for David Moyes and his team this season with two clean sheets in 16 Premier League appearances so far this campaign.
There may also be a need for the 22-year-old to decide whether the move would be right for him. Reports suggest he would finish the season on loan at Sunderland before joining the Gunners permanently in the summer, but, in the short term at least, he may face prolonged spells on the bench as he seeks to overtake Cech as number one.
For a youngster with 168 first team appearances under his belt already, that may seem like a step backwards. However, with Sunderland running a very real risk of relegation this season, dropping to the Championship would be far from ideal in terms of his career progression either.
The Black Cats will likely be hugely reluctant to sell, so this deal could drag on through the January transfer window and most likely beyond, but it seems to be only a matter of time before Pickford does leave the Stadium of Light for a bigger club.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Tim Hickman.
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