Arsenal identify Premier League star as summer Petr Cech replacement

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Nick Pope of Burnley looks on prior to the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Manchester City and Burnley at Etihad Stadium on January 26, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Nick Pope of Burnley looks on prior to the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Manchester City and Burnley at Etihad Stadium on January 26, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Arsenal are interested in signing Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope this summer, as a replacement for their retiring shot-stopper Petr Cech.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05: Nick Pope of Burnley acknowledges the fans after the FA Cup Third Round match between Burnley and Barnsley at Turf Moor on January 5, 2019 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
BURNLEY, ENGLAND – JANUARY 05: Nick Pope of Burnley acknowledges the fans after the FA Cup Third Round match between Burnley and Barnsley at Turf Moor on January 5, 2019, in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Alan Nixon of The S*n reports in an exclusive that Arsenal are ‘ready to pounce’ on the keeper this summer. Since his injury last year, Pope has lost his place in the Burnley side, with Tom Heaton first choice and Joe Hart as back up. Sources at Turf Moor have reportedly revealed that Pope’s name is now first on the list to exit the club.

Tottenham were previously linked with a move for the goalkeeper, but Paulo Gazzaniga has since proven a capable backup. However, Arsenal’s own backup option is preparing to retire, so they’ve now entered the race.

Burnley would want around £10m for the deal, but could also consider taking on one of Arsenal’s fringe players.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Nick Pope of Burnley looks on during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Manchester City and Burnley at Etihad Stadium on January 26, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JANUARY 26: Nick Pope of Burnley looks on during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Manchester City and Burnley at Etihad Stadium on January 26, 2019, in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

As mentioned, Pope has struggled for game time this season, having injured his shoulder 14 minutes into Burnley’s 2018/19 opener in July. Since his return, he’s played two FA Cup matches, but he hasn’t even made the Premier League squad once in over a month.

Nonetheless, he’s still a talented goalkeeper. Of goalkeepers to have made at least 10 Premier League appearances since the start of the 2017/18 campaign, only Alisson and David De Gea have better save success rates than Pope (75%) (via WhoScored). He has great reflexes, comes off his line well and rarely loses his concentration.

Of course, Arsenal could look internally for a second-choice goalkeeper. Matt Macey and Emi Martinez are currently spending time out on loan with lower-league clubs and Deyan Iliev has been waiting for a chance as the club’s u23 goalkeeper all season.

In all honesty, though, Macey and Iliev haven’t shown enough this campaign to take on that responsibility, whilst it’s still too early to tell with Martinez after just four games. For now, it seems pretty likely Arsenal will use the transfer market to find a new keeper.