Arsene Wenger has struggled with goalkeepers over the years, basically since the departure of Jens Lehmann (or some would argue David Seaman – legend). But in Wojciech Szczesny the Gunners have a future world stopper, the problem is at age 22 he is easily the first choice ‘keeper without any real competition, and that is set to enhance next season when the older Lukasz Fabianski leaves with his contract set to expire this summer.
A goalkeeper must always be on his toes, and have to work for a starting spot week-in, week-out. Having experience in the squad is always a bonus too, and someone to mentor the younger. Victor Valdes has been there, done that. Since joining Barcelona as a youth in 1992, he has gone on to win numerous amounts of trophies and titles after spending the entirety of his professional career with the club that is sitting pretty at the top of La Liga. His experience and knowledge of the game would invaluable for mentoring any young and aspiring goalkeeper, and it seems that he is set for a move away from Barca as early as this summer.
The Spaniard’s representatives have told Barcelona he will not consider extending his stay at the club when his current contract expires at the end of next season, as he wants to sample “other cultures, other leagues and other countries” before the end of his playing career.
The 31-year-old’s representatives released the following statement to the EFE news agency on Thursday evening:
The agents of Victor Valdes have told FC Barcelona at a meeting this afternoon that he has made an irreversible decision not to renew his contract. This avoids the need to enter into any financial discussions.
The Catalan giant’s sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta was initially intending to sit down with Valdes and his representatives, however now he is expected to explain the goalkeeper situation at a press conference on Friday.
The ball will now be in Barcelona’s court, if they manage to win a host of trophies this season then Valdes could be keen to end his stay on a high note and look elsewhere, but the Club may choose to keep him until his deal expires when he will be 32. Either way England remains a high possibility because of it’s competitiveness, popularity and the likelihood he could still compete in the Champions League with a club like Arsenal.
The Gunners require an established goalkeeper to compete with Szczesny and to provide ample backup should the Pole suffer an injury. At 31 Valdes is a decent age for Arsenal as he will be a reasonable price with a year left on his deal and has a high pedigree of experience. He has more chance of playing with the Gunners who have the weakest second-choice goalkeeper out of the ‘Top Four’ clubs and can easily be rotated with Szczesny for Cup matches.
What are your thoughts on the possibility of signing Valdes? Feel free to comment below.