Wojciech Szczesny is on the verge of joining Juventus for as little as £13m. One has to wonder why Arsenal are letting him go so cheaply.
In a transfer window where transfer fees are ballooning to comical proportions, the potential £13m move that’ll take Wojciech Szczesny to Juventus stands out as a bargain.
Szczesny’s departure is a disappointing one, for several reasons.
Firstly, he’s still a very talented goalkeeper who proved at Roma that he has what it takes to play at the highest level. He could have remained at Arsenal and challenged Petr Cech for the number one spot.
Secondly, he came through the Arsenal academy and was well-liked by supporters for his passion for the club and his sense of humour.
Finally, Arsenal are letting such a highly regarded keeper go for what appears to be a bargain price.
Had the move happened last summer, it wouldn’t seem as strange. However, this summer we must apply the important context of other goalkeepers who have moved.
Manchester City purchased 23-year-old Brazilian keeper Ederson from Benfica for £32.5m. Everton then signed Jordan Pickford, also 23, from Sunderland for £30m. What makes these keepers worth so much more than Szczesny?
It certainly can’t their age. Szczesny may be older at 27, but still remains a long-term investment for Juventus. Nor can it be ability. Ederson may be regarded as one the best talents in Europe, but Szczesny has proven to be able to maintain a consistently high level while at Roma, playing against top players in Serie A and in the Champions League. He’s proven much more than Pickford has.
All things being equal, it’s difficult to see why either of those keepers would be worth twice as much as Szczesny is. One has to imagine there’s something else going on.
One thing that was clear is that Arsenal didn’t want to keep Szczesny. Petr Cech is the undisputed number one at the club and that’s not going to change this summer. Arsene Wenger has also had problems with Szczesny in the past.
This, combined with the interest coming exclusively from frugal Serie A clubs, may have contributed to a reduced fee. Had this been a domestic transfer, the price would have been greatly inflated by the Premier League clubs’ wealth.
In addition to that, Szczesny has just a year remaining on his Arsenal contract, which typically reduces the price even further. Usually in this situation, a club will sell for whatever money it can get, rather than risk losing a player for nothing.
Nonetheless, you can’t help but think that Arsenal could have asked for more. From a fan’s perspective, the deal looks to be a disappointing one, with little sign that Arsenal worked to achieve maximum value for a very talented player and one that could have still contributed at the club.
In a couple of years time, when Arsenal are in the market for a new keeper, they be left to rue the fact they let a perfectly good one so easily.