Manuel Almunia has told The People that he is staying at Arsenal. There were some questions raised on at least one message board last Monday when a German website showed him as having been released by Arsenal - the veracity of this had to be in doubt given the lack of similar reports here in England. Almunia's comments would appear to give a lie to our Bavarian friends. I'm not disappointed to hear Almunia say will be at Arsenal next season, just so long as he is not the first choice goalkeeper. Almunia has, undoubtedly, made great strides since being at Arsenal, but still is not of the standard required in a Title winning team. I believe that Almunia as number 2, with Sczeszny breathing down his neck, behind a top class 'keeper is the way to go for Arsenal. This would mean Fabianski leaving, and also Mannone - possibly on loan for a year to see what improvements he can make to his game.
All of which brings me nicely to the guy Arsene apparently has tried to sign - Mark Schwarzer of Fulham. To say I would sceptical about such a move would be an understatement. Schwarzer is a decent goalkeeper, nothing more. He will also be 38 in October. Given that Jens Lehmann was bombed out around a similar age, despite being World Class, I find it amazing that Wenger would be looking to bring in someone of Schwarzer's standing. Clearly, Sczeszny has been identified as the long-term goalkeeper at the Club, but that doesn't mean bringing in a fairly average stop-gap. Spend the necessary money, bring in quality, if the young Pole is that good he will soon force his way to the number one spot. I have just watched Schwarzer criminally at fault for Germany's goals in the first 30 minutes at the World Cup - the second goal in particular saw him doing a very passable Almunia/Fabianski impression as the ball was crossed in.
I can't sign off without a word on England last night - that word being "awful".
Until tomorrow, with plenty of Arsenal interest at the World Cup in Van Persie and Alex Song - hope I can finish work in time to catch a bit of Cameroon, will have to Sky+ Holland.