It has been nine years since Arsene Wenger last moved with purpose in the transfer market for a goalkeeper. But with Arsenal’s decline this season due in part to the serious lack of depth, the club will be looking to move for Liverpool’s Pepe Reina in January.
The links between Reina and Arsenal go back two years, where Wenger was keen to add the player to his line up to address the issues with then goalkeeper Manuel Almunia. Perhaps there was some fortune looking back that Arsenal failed in their pursuit of the Liverpool keeper, as it paved the way for Wojciech Szczesny to rise through the reserves and into the No1 jersey.
But those goalkeeping problems have remained at Arsenal and have resurfaced in recent months. Injury to Szczesny has seen Vito Mannone take up first-team duties, however the Italian is far from convincing.
Arsenal need an added level of experience and proven quality. Despite Reina struggling for form at Liverpool for the best part of the last two seasons, the Spaniard is still capable of filling a notable void at the club.
The last time Wenger added a strong goalkeeper to his squad was in 2003 just prior to the unbeaten season, with Jens Lehmann arriving from Borussia Dortmund. The German was dropped as the first-choice in 2007, but his presence still brought the best out of Almunia at the time.
Both Szczesny and Reina are capable of taking the No1 shirt at Arsenal, and the added competition could be enough to raise both players to their best form. The sticking point, however, remains Reina’s wages. If a move to Arsenal does materialise, the player will surely have to take a wage cut on his current £110,000-per-week wages.