Arsenal keeper crisis: Mignolet or Valdes to replace Szczesny?

Feb 20, 2013
Bill Mann

Gunners want Sunderland stopper, Man Utd join Valdes hunt and Chelsea linked to De Gea

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THEY need more than just a new goalkeeper to dig themselves out of the hole they're now in, but apparently Arsenal will begin rebuilding their squad by snapping up Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet.

The Sun says that the Gunners are "keeping tabs" on the 24-year-old shot-stopper who was in superb form for the Black Cats when the two sides met earlier this month.

With Arsenal's season now in ruins following defeats to Blackburn and Bayern Munich in the space of four days, the club is poised to undergo a mass clear-out in the summer, with Wojciech Szczesny one of those under threat.

The Polish keeper has made a series of blunders this season and the Sun says that Mignolet is being lined up as his replacement. The Belgian keeper joined Sunderland three years ago for just £2m from Sint-Truiden and it's believed the northeast club will demand at least five times that amount.

Another solution to Arsenal's apparent keeper crisis could be Barcelona stopper Victor Valdes, but if they do move for him, as the Daily Express has suggested they will, then they will have to take on Manchester United.

Website Givemefootball says that the 31-year-old, who has announced that he will not be staying at the Camp Nou when his deal expires in 2014, will be sold in the summer and Manchester United are considering him as short term cover for David de Gea, who has yet to convince Alex Ferguson of his right to wear the number one jersey for the forseeable future. The Barca veteran, who has been with the club for 23 years, would cost £10m.

An even stranger twist to the tale is that Spanish paper AS believes that Chelsea could come in the De Gea if United do get their hands on Valdes.

But that story doesn't tally with what the Evening Standard is saying. It claims that current understudy that Thibaut Courtois intends to remain at the Bridge and replace Petr Cech when the goalkeeper hangs up his gloves in two years' time.

Last week rumours emerged suggesting the 20-year-old Courtois, who joined the Blues for £7 million from Genk in 2011, was on the verge of signing a full-time deal with Atletico Madrid. The Belgium international is on loan at the Spanish club and the rumours linked him with an exchange deal in which striker Falcao moved in the other direction.

When the Standard put the idea to Courtois, the bolshy Belgian replied: "A lot of things the press say are nonsense. They are guessing." He then declared that Chelsea have told him: "The last thing we want to do is sell you."

Chelsea are reportedly spoiling for a fight with some of the Premier League's finest over the right to the hand of Hamburg striker Heung-Min Son. The Metro says that the Blues see "South Korea sensation Son" as the best way to crack the Asian market, which has so far proved less profitable than it has to the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool.

Apparently Chelsea will offer Hamburg £10m for Son, although they're prepared to go higher if that's what it takes to beat off interest from Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and United.

The Metro notes that Blues' former director of football, Frank Arnesen, is now working at Hamburg, and as a result Chelsea are quietly confident they'll win the race to sign Son, who this season has scored nine goals in 21 appearances for Hamburg. With Son on board, Chelsea will then look to "maximise profit" in South Korea, Japan and China.

Finally, Marek Hamsik seems to be a glutton for punishment. Either that or the Napoli star believes life at the Etihad would be far riskier than braving the crime-ridden streets of Naples.

The Slovakian playmaker was recently robbed for the third time in the Italian city, but despite losing his Rolex and suffering another bruised ego, Talksport reports that Hamsik has "distanced himself from a move to Manchester City in the summer".

Sky Blues boss Roberto Mancini is known to be a fan of the man with the Mohawk haircut but it appears Hamsik would rather take his chances with Naples rather than spend his days warming the bench in Manchester.

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