Petr Cech redeemed himself somewhat against Tottenham at the weekend but it is still hard to shake the feeling that selling Wojciech Szczesny was one of the biggest mistakes Arsene Wenger has ever made.
With Arsenal conceding goals for fun and Petr Cech undergoing his longest ever Premier League run without a cleansheet, the decision to sell Szczesny in the summer makes less sense with the passing of time rather than more.
Taken by Juventus to be the heir to Gianluigi Buffon, the best goalkeeper the game has ever seen, he has matured significantly since leaving Arsenal on loan a few seasons ago.
Once freed from the disaster that is Arsenal’s goalkeeping coaching setup, he has also developed into the outstanding goalkeeper we always knew he could be.
When Arsenal signed Cech, many believed that he would be number one for a couple of seasons while Szczesny learned from him.
But, instead, Woj is learning from the best in the world while Arsenal seem perfectly content to stick with two sub-standard keepers.
“It’s incredible [working with Buffon],” Woj told Sky Sport Italia at an event at the Allianz Stadium recently. “I arrived here knowing that he was into his last year or two and I told myself it was an experience that could only come around once in a lifetime.
“I expected to meet an outstanding goalkeeper, but he’s also an incredible man. Buffon is the big leader of the team, a great friend for everybody. He’s a person we all love. He helps everybody and everybody helps him.
“He’s an amazing person, and I don’t need to say anything about him as a goalkeeper because we all know everything. It’s a fantastic life experience and I hope that he can carry on [playing], but only for another year!”
Although it’s almost impossible to compare Woj and Cech’s stats given the defences they play behind, a 1.83 saves per goal v 1.58 highlights his better form.
His distribution accuracy, which used to be an issue, is also better than the Czech’s at 83% v 72%, albeit over a shortly average length (28m v 37m).
Speaking to the press on Monday, Woj’s agent revealed that the Italians got an absolute bargain when they landed the Pole and it’s hard to disagree when you see the prices quoted for some top keepers these days.
“Szczesny loves Juventus, his fans and has an extraordinary relationship with Buffon, if they will prolong [his contract], for us no problem,” Jonathan Barnett said.
“Juventus, however, has signed an incredible deal by buying Szczesny at that price (€12.2 million plus a maximum €3.1m of bonus).
“They were good and quick to understand his enormous potential before everyone.
“You will see – Wojciech will become one of the world’s top in the role.”
I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to let this go.