AS Roma signed Arsenal’s impossible-to-spell goalkeeper on an “initial one-year loan contract. Szczesny of course, desperately needed to get to a place where he could play every week and with Cech’s arrival, Arsenal didn’t look like the club that could offer him the same. The goalkeeper receded to the bench after his sorry performance against Southampton around the turn of the year and David Ospina did a wonderful job slotting in between the posts for the Gunners for the latter half of the season. So much so that some fans have found it questionable that the Colombian is being replaced by Cech despite proving he can be the number one choice for the club last year. But Wenger’s decision to bring in Cech is entirely acceptable – you can’t possibly pass on the opportunity to bring in a player of his stature – and one of Ospina or Szczesny had to be disposed of. It is hard to argue with Arsenal’s choice.
Many would think that it’s a fall from grace for Szczesny. He made his Arsenal debut at the age of 19 and went on to make 181 appearances for the side. Incidentally, he shared the Golden Glove with Cech in 2013/14 and in the end; he was the one who is sacrificed for the Czech international. It isn’t startling though, considering his performances last season and some uninvited episodes regarding smoking in the shower etc.
Of course, we can sympathize with Szczesny too. He wasn’t playing with the best of defences in front of him. Koscielny was injured, Mertesacker was struggling there was a makeshift back four in every game with full-backs being employed as central defenders. In the second half of the season, it wasn’t completely unclear why Ospina was keeping clean sheet after clean sheet. Arsenal found a terrific sense of balance in the team through their defence with the likes of Bellerin and Monreal doing well, Coquelin playing better than most defensive midfielders in the league and a good central defence partnership between Mertesacker and Koscielny. This is definitely not to belittle Ospina’s role in the side, nor absolve Sczeseny of his poor season, but just to state that the Polish international also had external factors to blame for his horror season.
Then again, after the wonderful campaign he enjoyed just a season before, one would expect him to kick on and establish himself with the Gunners, a club where he has been for almost 10 years, one he loves and adores so much.
It remains uncertain if the Pole will come back to Arsenal. With Cech, many expect Arsenal to have found their number one goalkeeper for the next three or four years. The former Chelsea player is only 32 and there is a good chance that he remains Arsenal’s number one choice for the next few years. It therefore makes little or no sense that Szczesny will come back unless he is content playing a bit-part role for the side, and of course, if Wenger wants him to.
A move to Roma is symbiotically beneficial for both Szczesny as well as AS Roma.
Roma’s current No. 1, Morgan De Sanctis is 38 years old. He appeared in 39 games for the Italian side and kept 16 clean sheets, made 2.54 saves per goal and conceded 0.74 goals per match. These are impressive figures and many feel that despite all the criticism he underwent last season, he deserved the one year contract he got. But these figures do not show the seven goals the Roma defence and MDS leaked in against Bayern at Rome. However talented Bayern may be, seven goals against any opposition is a more than an embarrassing feat. There were other instances during the course of the season as well, where supporters felt that the club could do better with an upgrade in the goalkeeper position.
Unarguably, if Roma want to win trophies next season, they unquestionably require an upgrade on the spot. Arsene Wenger himself has boosted his chances to win the Premier League by adding solidity and sureness to Arsenal’s base in the form of Petr Cech, which goes on to show how important a good goalkeeper is to win trophies. It doesn’t mean that De Sanctis be reduced to the bench completely. Szczesny will definitely need time to get going and he could do very well under the tutelage of the Italian veteran. Rudi Garcia needed a goalkeeper that could help him compete for the Scudetto as well as in other competition and in Szczesny, he has got that. The Poland international is a good goalkeeper, but unfortunately most of us have a short football memory and only remember the blunders of last season. The 25-year-old can now start afresh and hope to do become an integral part of the Roma unit.[separator type=”thin”]
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Three talking points from Chelsea’s three-goal defeat to Roma
Chelsea fell to a disappointing defeat away to Roma on Tuesday night in the Champions League. There had been a lot of supporters hoping that the Blues would gain a positive result in Italy and move one step closer to qualification, but they failed to do that with a miserable display. They remain in a strong position in the group thanks to Atletico Madrid failing to beat Qarabag for the second time, but they will be disappointed with the result and performance on Tuesday. Here are three talking points from the match:
Antonio Rudiger was a disappointment
The summer signing has shown flashes of his ability during the last few weeks and was starting to establish himself as a first-team regular until this performance. The German international made an awful mistake for the second goal as he let a through ball pass him without any effort to clear it. This allowed Stephan El Shaarawy to pick up the ball unchallenged and score his second of the night. It is difficult to say what the defender was thinking and it will be an error that Antonio Conte won’t forget in a hurry.
Chelsea have a lot of options at centre-back and for that reason, Rudiger will be fearing for his place. Cesar Azpilicueta is arguably the team’s most reliable defender, but he was used at right wing-back today. Meanwhile, Andreas Christensen has a lot of potential and could be afforded another opportunity as a result of the German’s poor performance against Roma. The mistake came at an awful time for the Premier League side as it allowed the hosts to take a two-goal lead into half-time.
Stephan El Shaarawy reminded the world of his talent
The Italian had long been tipped for greatness since breaking through at AC Milan. However, he failed to kick on at the San Siro before a disappointing loan spell with Monaco saw him move back to Italy as he joined Roma. The attacker scored an excellent first goal from distance to give the side an early lead before adding to his tally with a smart finish before half-time. This match-winning display came just days after his winner against Bologna in Serie A.
At the age of 25, there is still time for the Italian international to develop into a great player in Serie A and in European competition. He will be full of confidence after his success during the last few days and seems ready to establish himself in the Roma team. Mo Salah was a big loss to the side during the summer, but they now have a player with enough quality to step up and replace him. The next step will be for the player to show consistency and truly emerge as one of the club’s most important players.
Chelsea miss N’Golo Kante
The midfielder has been a winner since arriving in England, having won back-to-back Premier League titles with Leicester City and Chelsea. It seemed too simplistic to attribute both triumphs to Kante being in the side, but the Foxes’ decline last season and the recent struggles at Stamford Bridge underline the quality of the French international. He has missed the entirety of October and the Blues don’t look the same side without him, as they are conceding too many clear-cut chances and failing to dominate matches.
It is extremely difficult to play with a two-man midfield and to succeed, it needs to have the right blend of individuals. Kante’s relentless energy and ball-winning ability makes him perfect for it, but Chelsea don’t have a like-for-like replacement for him, which is why their results have been poor during his absence. They have conceded 11 goals in six matches without the Frenchman and kept only one clean sheet, which came against a Bournemouth side that showed little attacking intent. The midfielder will return soon, but Conte needs to find a way of playing without the 26-year-old as they are currently reliant on him.
Liverpool linked with last-ditch swoop for Roma left-back Emerson Palmieri – is he needed at Anfield?
With a hectic day expected at Anfield already, reports surfacing from Italy overnight have claimed that Liverpool have lined-up a surprise deadline day swoop for Roma’s left-back Emerson Palmieri.
Tutto Mercato Web claim that Jurgen Klopp has submitted an offer around the region of €21million euros (£19.35million) for the promising 23-year-old defender after an impressive year in Italy.
Palmieri suffered a long-term anterior cruciate ligament injury back in May but, despite being side-lined until October at the earliest, it is understood that this hasn’t put Liverpool off making a move.
Would Palmieri add anything to Liverpool?
If there’s one part of Liverpool’s current squad that has been constantly criticised over the past few Premier League seasons, and is arguably in need of some investment, then it is their leaky defence.
Inconsistent is the best way to describe the Liverpool back-line, and despite adding young Andrew Robertson to their squad from Hull City there’s still a lingering feeling that extra personnel is needed.
And in Palmieri there’s the potential to bring in one of the best full-backs in Serie A, with the Brazilian able to rival Juventus star Alex Sandro in the creativity and attacking intent he possesses.
Last season the vast majority of Roma’s attacking play came down the left-hand side, and that’s primarily due to the over-lapping instincts and advanced positioning of Palmieri, and the 23-year-old has shown that he loves nothing more than having the ball at his feet and getting involved in the play.
Consider the fact that he’ll have the likes of Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane playing ahead of him down the left-hand side and it could become a truly potent combination that could push the Reds forward.
Despite being accustomed to more of a wing-back role at Roma, he has the raw potential to be a conventional left-back – as he would be at Anfield – and become a marauding figure down the flank.
There’s work that can be done on his defending, often caught out of position due to his desire to push further up the pitch, but under Klopp there’s no better man to help enhance his development at the back.
Should the speculation of a move be true, and Liverpool do look for a late deal for Palmieri, then their good relationship with Roma following the arrival of Mohamed Salah also could prove to be useful.
Is £40m a fair asking price for Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City amid Roma interest?
After it was revealed that Leicester City have rejected a £21 million bid for Riyad Mahrez from Italian side Roma, the Daily Mail claim that the Foxes are still holding out for a bid of £40 million in order to persuade them to sell. The news comes after Mahrez requested a move away from the King Power Stadium earlier this summer.
Why is he worth £40 million?
Very few people would argue against the notion that the winger was one of the best players in Europe as Leicester City romped to the Premier League title in 2016. With 17 goals and 11 assists in 37 games, he dominated the top flight with his creativity and exquisite distribution and finishing.
That has also boosted Mahrez’s reputation hugely. One of the few recognisable names of that Leicester side alongside Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante, Mahrez will be aware that his value will only remain so high for so long.
At 26 years of age, Mahrez is at the peak of his game and he still has room to develop. Any buying club know that they will be able to buy him with potential to sell him on again in the future and recoup some of the money lost in that initial investment.
Why is £40 million too much to ask for?
Last season was a mediocre one for the Algerian. Only five assists and a disappointing 10 goals in 2016/17 paled into insignificance alongside his displays of Leicester’s victorious 2015/16 campaign.
Whatever the off the field distractions were and, regardless of how the whole side saw their performances dip last season, Craig Shakespeare and co. will be more than aware that, based on last season alone, Mahrez would be worth nowhere near £40 million.
Add in the fact that Mahrez offers virtually no aerial threat, actually being more of a vulnerability at set pieces, and with his lack of work rate often meaning he doesn’t track back to defend, and it’s clear to see why Roma’s opening bid was worth just £20 million.
Is there any chances the Foxes will get the price they want?
It seems possible. Currently, Roma seem to be the only party with a strong interest which will not help their cause. To their favour, Leicester can be confident in the knowledge that the Italian side do have cash to splash after selling Mohamed Salah to Liverpool for over £30 million a few weeks ago.
On the other hand, in sporting director Monchi, Roma possess one of the game’s greatest negotiators. The Spaniard usually prefers to hunt out bargains and may be reluctant to go all out and spend a huge chunk of his budget on one player, even if they are as good as Mahrez.
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