Reports this morning are that David Ospina is set to return to Arsenal this summer after his move the permanent move to Napoli collapsed.
Earlier this season it seemed inevitable that the Colombian keeper would make his loan deal to permanent as he was quickly closing in on the 25 appearances that would trigger a £3.5m obligation to buy clause.
Despite establishing himself as Napoli number 1 following Alex Meret’s injury, Ospina was dropped after 24 appearances with the Italian keeper replacing him for the last 2 games.
Carlo Ancelotti had indicated earlier in the season that he would make the Ospina deal a permanent one regardless of how many games he had played. It seems the veteran manager has now changed his mind.
Last summer saw Napoli sign 3 goal keepers.
Firstly they 21-year-old Meret for a reported as €35 million fee from Udinese. Alongside AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, he is considered one of the best young keepers in Italy and a long term number 1 in Naples.
Napoli also signed veteran Greek goal keeper Orestis Karnezis on loan, with the 33-year-old bought in to offer experience to his younger new team mate. The deal was made permanent in February.
Despite having already signed 2 goal keepers in the summer of 2018, Napoli were forced into loaning David Ospina from Arsenal following Meret picking up a long term injury in pre-season training.
Despite Ospina joining and becoming defacto number 1 ahead of Karnezis, there was always the feeling that once Meret was back fit, he would return to 1st choice keeper. Ospina and Meret shared number duties throughout the second half of the season.
A decision has clearly been made by Ancelotti to stick to the plan that he had at the beginning of the 2018/19 season – Meret number 1 and Karnezis number 2.
With the obligation to buy now off the table, this leaves Ospina, Napoli and Arsenal with a choice.
Do Napoli need 3 international keepers? Does Ospina want to sit on the bench in Naples? Do Arsenal need a number 2?
With the retirement of Petr Cech, Arsenal are on the look out for a new number 2.
The requirement for a solid Premier League number 2 is:
- International quality keeper
- Experience as 1st choice
- Capable of stepping up as number 1 for a long period
If you scoured the world for a Romero (Manchester United), Claudio Bravo (Manchester city) or Simon Mignolet (Liverpool) type goal keeper, David Ospina would probably be near the top of the list.
David Ospina is 31-years-old, capped 94 times by Colombia and has played 387 times across France, England, Italy and his native Colombia.
Ancelotti saw him as an ideal replacement number 1 when his €35 million first choice new signing picked up a long term injury.
Arsenal would unlikely get more than £5million for Ospina on the open market, considering his contract runs out in 2020. Would Arsenal get a better keeper than Ospina for that money?
I would be entirely comfortable with Bern Leno as 1st choice and Ospina as 2nd choice next season.