It seems now, after months of speculation, the Wojciech Szczesny could have played his last game for the club.
Back in January, after the smoking incident against Southampton, Arsenal legend John Jenson said on Danish TV that Szczesny’s Arsenal career was pretty much over. At the time, many scoffed, questioning how the former Danish International would know such information. Zero Premier League appearances and a Petr Cech later, it appears his Arsenal career is over.
At the time of signing Petr Cech, it was expected that David Ospina would be the goal keeper who makes way. With Sczcesny given the opportunity to be understudy for the form Chelsea keeper and be given time to develop and learn from an experienced senior player – something which he has never had in his career.
But it now seems that it will be Sczcesny who is moved on, rather than Ospina. According to current reports, his likely destination at the moment is Italy, Roma to be exact. A loan deal with an option to buy. However, there is a very good chance he could end up at one of Arsenal’s Premier League rivals. Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United or Chelsea. Here me out.
There is only one reason Arsenal have not already dumped Sczcesny. He is home grown.
We have seen this summer how important having enough home grown players in your squad is. Manchester City have spent an extortionate amount on Raheem Sterling. They have also reportedly given Fabian Delph a £100,000-per-week deal.
You then have Chelsea. Set to offer £30m to Everton for John Stones. A lot of money for someone who has only started 38 Premier League games. It will be a transfer which will exceed the £29.1m Manchester United paid for Rio Ferdinand, who at the time had 171 Premier League appearances and been part of a Leeds side that had recently made the Champions League semi-finals. And he had 28 England caps.
There are many other examples of the ‘home grown’ levy. Luke Shaw to Manchester United, Calum Chambers, Theo Walcott & Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Arsenal. Andy Carroll to Liverpool. The wage being paid to Milner. English players, especially young talented ones, are expensive.
When you think that Arsenal signed Per Mertesacker for under £10m, a centre back who at the time had 70+ German caps, and then signed Calum Chambers for nearly twice as much, a played who was not even a Southampton regular, it really opens your eyes up.
The issue obviously stems from a lack of decent home grown talent. The top clubs are not developing their own players, and those clubs further down the chain are not developing too many more. Just look at England’s poor showing at the recent Euro U21 tournament. With both the Premier League and Champions League quota on home grown players, it creates a massive demand for top home grown talent, but without the supply.
So what does all of this mean for Wojciech Szczesny?
Despite being Polish, Szczesny is considered as home grown, having joined Arsenal at 16 – the home grown rules dictate that a player must have been at a club for 3 years before he was 21. This means he is a valuable asset and worth a lot more than he would were he not home grown.
Added to him being home grown, he is still a decent goal keeper. Easily good enough to be 2nd choice at any of the top Premier League sides. At just 24, he could still become a first choice, but at worse, he has a decade ahead of him.
With Manchester City and Chelsea desperate for home grown players, Liverpool after a back up keeper for Mignolet, and Manchester United looking for a De Gea replacement, Szczesny would have plenty of potential suitors on the UK market. And with his home grown status, his value rockets.
The reports are that Roma will have a £3.5m first choice on him. This would be a silly move for Arsenal. In the current market, were Szczesny’s value is increased, Arsenal could receive a fee closer to £20m.
If Arsenal were to sell him to Roma, it would not surprise me if within 2/3 years he is back in the UK, with Roma making a big profit on him. Home grown is that valued.
If Arsenal are looking to move Szczesny on, selling him to a Premier League rival will be the best deal for the club.