Arsenal and their manager Arsene Wenger have been the subject of rebuke and criticism in the past for a lack of the same sort of ruthlessness that is currently on display at the Emirates. Gone are the gruesome days when Wenger used to pin his hopes on the likes of Abou Diaby and Nicklas Bendtner. This is not the manager who let Benzema pass as he trusted Arshavin and Gervinho to come out. Don’t get me wrong – this still is Wenger at his beloved Arsenal ; the only change that has come about is his willingness to go for glory and not to burden the present because of hopes for future.
Having carried Diaby all through his career on a treatment table, Wenger has finally found the ruthless streak to cut loose the burden. Such qualities are a hallmark more reminiscent of the current Premier League champions rather than the Gunners. Non performers have been shown the door and several key figures like Mikel Arteta who contribute too little are rumored to be on their way out.
If reports in the Daily Mail are anything to go by , the next one out of the Emirates exit door might be 26-year-old Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina, who, according to claims made by the aforementioned source, is scheduled to hold talks with Arsene Wenger this week regarding his future, after the signing of Chelsea legend Petr Cech last week all but confirmed his demotion to a bench role at the club he joined just last summer.
The highly rated Colombian International established himself as the first choice ahead of Wojciech Szczesny in the second half of last season after he was initially given a chance when the Pole’s form nosedived amid accusations of misconduct. His installation as Gunners first choice coincided with the club’s brilliant end of season form that saw them finish the league on third place and achieve automatic Champions League qualification.
Ospina was superb and kept eight clean sheets in 18 appearances, and it will not be folly to suggest that the Wenger of Old would have persisted with him next season. But this is not that manager. Something has changed in him. Perhaps being branded as a specialist in failure by his foe Jose Mourinho has lit a fire in his belly that will be satiated only when he lays his hands on the Premier League title.
As soon as the opportunity arose for the signature of Petr Cech , Wenger left no stone unturned to get his man. Cech is the world class keeper that Wenger has never had in his career. Seaman and Lehmann were good, but Cech is a rung above them and after years of persisting with second tier goalkeepers , he is exactly the sort of A-lister Arsenal needed between the sticks.
However, his arrival implies that either one of Ospina or Szczesny might likely have to depart this summer in search of regular football. With the latter fielding an advantage in terms of his status as a homegrown player, Ospina is the one who has been tipped to depart for pastures new.
But the Colombian has now stated that he is not troubled by the competition for places as he’s always had to fight for his place and will continue to do so.
He said: “I have always had to fight for the title position at all of my clubs. You expect a big club like Arsenal to improve the squad but you must always impress the manager in training.”
If he chooses to stay on and fight for his place, it can only be good news for the Gunners as they will find themselves in the enviable position of having three very competent goalkeepers .
Should Ospina choose to leave , he can be rest assured that he won’t be short of suitors as his impressive displays for Arsenal will prompt offers to come pouring in for the Colombian. He will be departing Emirates not because he wasn’t competent enough, but because few goalkeepers in the world can boast of matching the achievements of his replacement.