Sunday, 17 November 2013

Szczesny commits long term


Arsenal.com finally confirmed that Szczesny has signed a new long-term deal with the club, which would keep him here till another estimated 4 more years.

It is, in every aspect, an encouraging piece of business. Szczesny has grown to be a regular player in our stabilizing defence, and it was essential that we tied him down for our long-term plans. Statistics show that he is currently the best keeper in the league at the moment, despite having only 3 clean sheets. He is certainly the best goalkeeper we've had since Jens Lehmann, and is currently having a much improved season compared to his last.

Szczesny said of the deal:

“I am very pleased to have signed a new contract. Arsenal is like my family and I’m so happy to be committing my long-term future here. I’ve been at this Club for over seven years now and I’d just like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their support towards me during my time here."

It is rumoured that his deal will consist of £100,000 wages per week, which seems quite fair to me. After a shocker at the opening day of the season, he has grown in each game and produced some astounding saves, the highlight of which was the save against Crystal Palace. It's really quite unbelievable that he's only 23 years of age, when you consider how vocal he is with the back four, and how he has already played 121 games for us.

Arsene Wenger said:

“We’re very pleased Wojciech has signed a new long-term contract. I have always believed he is an extremely talented player, with excellent reflexes and good mental strength. He continues to grow and improve all the time too, so he has the potential to be even better. He can be an important part of Arsenal Football Club for many years to come.”

The wages given to him also demonstrate Arsene's willingness to loosen the purse strings a bit. Back in 2006, Ashley Cole had wanted higher wages from Arsenal but was left "trembling in anger" after discovering that we had only offered £55,000 to him. He rightly wanted to be paid his worth, but was laughed out of the club for that. And while the circumstances of his departure is a fair reason for us to hate him, it was hugely disappointing to notice that we couldn't keep one of our star men simply because we couldn't afford to pay them their valued wages.

That's not the case anymore. Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski, Mesut Ozil and now Wojciech Szczesny are 4 Arsenal players that earn 100K or more salaries, and all of these contracts were signed within a year, with the exception of Podolski, who signed it in July 2012. And while one might argue that Walcott did not deserve the wages he is getting paid right now, I feel that it was absolutely the right decision by the manager and the club to give in to his demands.

Theo symbolized a world class player back then, even though in my opinion, he was not (and still isn't). Losing Robin and Alex Song was bad enough, but to lose Walcott in the same season would've been over the top. He was in scintillating form back then, and letting him go in January or in August on a Bosman would've convinced the media and the fans that we can't keep our star men anymore. Even though Walcott has gone on a really bad run of form, he's shown signs of improvement this season, and had it not been for his abdominal injury (which he might be recovering from in time for the Southampton match), who knows what might have happened?
    
Signing Walcott for long-term was the correct choice, and keeping Szczesny for another 4 years is too. Wojciech Szczesny is one of the players that I want to see playing for this club for another decade, like the entire British core of Jenkinson, Gibbs, Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain. I believe that if they have faith in the club and what it stands for, these players can achieve great things for it and themselves.

Wojciech Szczesny seems like an Arsenal through-and-through, and the only reason I think that he may not be at the club after 3 years is if we're still maintaining our trophyless run, or if he sustains a career ending injury. It's a horrifying thought, and one I must really put away from my head at the moment.

For now, let's just hope that we do win a trophy this year, and be glad that the best goalkeeper in the Premier League is at North London for years to come.

-Santi (Follow me on twitter: @ArsenalBlogz )