Arsenal back-up goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez claims he’s ‘equal to or better than’ Gunners’ first-choice glovesman Bernd Leno

12 Sep

Arsenal’s second-choice goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has claimed he is ‘equal to or better than’ the Gunners’ no.1, Bernd Leno.

Martinez was promoted to the role of back-up glovesman following Petr Cech’s retirement at the end of last season.

Emiliano Martinez has made only 14 appearances for Arsenal despite joining as a teenager nine years ago
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And the Spaniard does not appear short on confidence.

Leno, who won the no.1 shirt from Cech last term, blundered in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham earlier this month, diverting Erik Lamela’s tame shot into Christian Eriksen’s path for the opening goal.

Martinez watched on from the bench, and reckons he could do a better job than his team-mate.

He told the Arsenal En America podcast: “Last year Petr Cech started as a starter and Bernd Leno played the cups.

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“But this year Leno starts number one and I’m playing those competitions.

“Although everything can change, because they left me at the club knowing that I can be number one. We both play very well with our feet.

“Our coach tells everyone that we are one more player and told us that we are among the best goalkeepers who play with our feet, which is something very important for his game system.

Bernd Leno has had a shaky start to the season
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“He [Leno] has more professional matches than me, but in qualities I am equal to or better than him.”

Martinez also revealed he had offers to permanently leave Arsenal this summer after going on six separate loan spells since joining the north Londoners in 2010.

The 27-year-old has spent time with Oxford, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham, Wolves, Getafe and Reading, and was on the lookout for guaranteed first-team football.

He added: “I had a great season on loan at Reading and I had offers to leave Arsenal. I wanted to play, it was going to be my priority.

“After nine years without much rhythm I wanted to leave. But I got the news that I was going to play more games and I decided to stay to try to be the number one.

“I’m very prepared. If I didn’t believe in myself of being capable of taking that position, I would not have stayed.”

Bernd Leno claims Arsenal are the biggest club in London with Chelsea and Tottenham no comparison

11 Sep

Bernd Leno believes Arsenal are the biggest club in London and overshadow their rivals Chelsea and Tottenham.

The German goalkeeper joined the Gunners in 2018 and took the no.1 spot from Petr Cech.

Bernd Leno has developed into a key player for Arsenal since joining last year
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The 27-year-old is Unai Emery’s first choice and his latest comments will have endeared the German to the Arsenal faithful.

Leno was asked to compare Arsenal with former club Bayer Leverkusen in an interview with SportBild.

He said: “You can’t compare that, of course Arsenal is a world club, THE club here in London.

“Not Chelsea, not Tottenham – Arsenal is the club here with fans around the world. No matter where we are, also in the USA or in Asia, there are many fans of Arsenal everywhere.”

Leno may think that the Gunners have a bigger global fanbase than their rivals but they have not got the better of them on the pitch over the past few seasons.

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In 2018/19, Chelsea finished third in the Premier League and also beat Arsenal in the final of the Europa League.

Furthermore, Tottenham reached the Champions League final, to match Arsenal’s best result in the competition, and also qualified for this season’s competition while the Gunners missed out.

The players who have made the most individual errors in the Premier League since the start of last season, including Bernd Leno

3 Sep

Arsenal showed plenty of grit and determination to earn a draw against Tottenham in the north London derby last weekend.

The Gunners found themselves 2-0 down after 40 minutes thanks to Christian Eriksen’s opener and Harry Kane’s penalty.

Arsenal showed great character to come back against Spurs
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However, strikes from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw Arsenal earn a 2-2 draw against their rivals.

A massive cause for concern for manager Unai Emery will be the mistakes his players made though.

Granit Xhaka made an unnecessary foul on Heung-Min Son which gave Spurs their penalty while Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno should have done better for Eriksen’s goal.

The German kept out an initial shot from Erik Lamela but could only palm the ball straight into the Dane’s path, who slotted the ball into an empty net.

Leno’s blushes were spared by Lacazette and Aubameyang
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Leno has been culpable a few times since he joined Arsenal in the summer of 2018 but how many errors leading to goals has he made?

Below you can see the top nine players to have made errors leading to goals in the Premier League since the start of last season, with thanks to Opta.

8= Martin Dubravka (Newcastle) – Errors leading to goals: 3

8= Alisson Becker (Liverpool) – Errors leading to goals: 3

The Liverpool stopper is a surprise inclusion in this chart
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5= Sergio Rico (Fulham) – Errors leading to goals: 3

5= Angus Gunn (Southampton) – Errors leading to goals: 3

5= Sol Bamba (Cardiff City) – Errors leading to goals: 3

3= David de Gea (Manchester United) – Errors leading to goals: 4

De Gea hit some bad form towards the end of last season
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3=. Jordan Pickford (Everton) – Errors leading to goals: 4

2. Asmir Begovic (Bournemouth) – Errors leading to goals: 5

1. Bernd Leno (Arsenal) – Errors leading to goals: 6

Leno has made six errors leading to goals in the Premier League
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Liverpool vs Arsenal: talkSPORT pundits pick combined XIs and Mo Salah misses out on Perry Groves’ team

24 Aug

Liverpool and Arsenal head into their Premier League clash this weekend in high spirits having both won their opening two games of the new season.

Ahead of Saturday evening’s clash at Anfield, which is LIVE on talkSPORT, we asked three of our own, Micky Quinn, Perry Groves and Laura Woods to do their combined XI comprising of both teams.

Check their selections out below!

Jurgen Klopp, left, and Unai Emery will go head-to-head at Anfield this Saturday
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Micky Quinn’s combined Liverpool/Arsenal team

Formation: 4-3-3

Goalkeeper: Leno

With Alisson’s calf injury preventing him from taking part in this game for Liverpool, Leno gets the nod for me ahead of Adrian. The Liverpool no.2 has impressed recently, but is prone to a mistake or two.

Leno is Arsenal’s No. 1 this season following the retirement of Petr Cech
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Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Andy Robertson

I’d have the entire Liverpool backline in this team – it’s a no brainer. There’s no argument to include any of Arsenal’s defence in this as the Reds are far superior in this department.

Virgil van Dijk has been an outstanding acquisition for Liverpool
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Midfielders: Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and Dani Ceballos

I’ve seen a lot of Wijnaldum, especially when he was at Newcastle, and he’s someone who is dynamic and pops up with important goals. In the middle Jordan Henderson gets the nod. The Liverpool skipper might not be everyone’s cup of tea but he never hides, gets stuck in and has a great engine.

Georgino Wijnaldum, right, is capable of the spectacular
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I’ve also been impressed with what I’ve seen of Dani Ceballos so far. It’s obvious the Arsenal fans have really warmed to him and he looks primed to be their main talisman if you like, along with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Forwards: Mohamed Salah, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sadio Mane

Aubameyang has to play in the middle of a three-man attack. He’s someone who gets you a guaranteed 20-25 goals a season and has been a huge revelation in the Premier League so far. On the right-hand side I’ve had Mo Salah.

While he’s struggled so far this season, his quality speaks for itself and he’s been a huge reason why Liverpool have been challenging for major honours, both domestically and in Europe, over the last couple of years.

Mohamed Salah is one of the best attackers in the world
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Sadio Mane also makes it in to this line-up on the left side of the attack. He keeps on improving season after season, both in terms of goals and assists, and has shown what a top class forward he is at Liverpool. Some may question why Alexandre Lacazette isn’t in this side, but quite frankly I don’t think he can lace either Salah or Mane’s boots.

OVERALL: Liverpool 8-3 Arsenal


Perry Groves’ combined Liverpool/Arsenal team

Formation: 3-4-3

Goalkeeper: Leno

The same reasoning as Micky Quinn!

Defenders: Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and David Luiz

It goes without saying Liverpool have one of the best defences, if not the best, in the country. Virgil van Dijk is quite simply undroppable, and I’d have also have Joe Gomes on the right side of a three-man defence.

Arsenal defender David Luiz is a force to be reckoned with on his day
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This may ruffle a few feathers, but I’d then have David Luiz as the final jigsaw to this defence. He’s more than capable of doing a solid job in a three, and I believe he’d do a decent job in this side operating on the left-hand side.

Wing-backs: Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson

The best full-backs in the country. There’s no argument for either Ainsley Maitland-Niles or Nacho Monreal getting ahead of those two.

Midfielders: Dani Ceballos and Fabinho

I’ve been really impressed with Ceballos since his move to the Gunners. He looks like a cross between Santi Cazorla and Cesc Fabregas. He can play as an eight and a ten,  but is equally adaptable as a six.

Dani Ceballos looks like a real talent
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He’s very good at receiving balls in tight areas, and is always on the half turn and looking to find that killer ball.

He never takes the easy option, and is really comfortable on the ball – a bit like Jack Wilshere was for Arsenal in that respect. Elsewhere, I’d have Fabinho alongside the Arsenal man on the right-hand side of my midfield.

Fabinho gets the nod ahead of his team-mate Jordan Henderson purely for his defensive discipline, athleticism and power that he displays on a consistent basis for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

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Forwards: Roberto Firmino, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sadio Mane

I have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang operating in the centre of a right-man attack, with Liverpool team-mates Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino on either side of him.

There’s no room for Mo Salah in my team as out of all the big hitters at that football club at the moment he isn’t hitting the heights at the moment – much like the start of last season.

I tried to make a case for Alexandre Lacazette as he’s a quality footballer, but I couldn’t leave two Liverpool forwards out of my front three!

Roberto Firmino, middle, is an integral player for Liverpool
Getty Images - Getty

OVERALL: Liverpool 7-4 Arsenal


Laura Woods’ combined Liverpool/Arsenal team

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Goalkeeper: Leno

Bernd Leno has to go in because Alisson is injured, otherwise my choice for goalkeeper would be Alisson – 100 per cent.

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson

As an Arsenal fan, it pains me to say this, but we are not known for our defensive capabilities even if we have strengthened a little bit. For me, though, I haven’t seen enough of David Luiz in an Arsenal shirt to warrant him breaking into this back four.

Even if Hector Bellerin was fit, I think Trent Alexander-Arnold is one of the best in the league.

I adored Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez’s partnership last season and Joel Matip has improved so much since playing alongside Van Dijk – he has been like a sponge alongside him.

Joel Matip, right, has established himself as a first-team regular at Liverpool
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And with Van Dijk’s selection, it was a toss-up between him and Shkodran Mustafi [laughs]. No, I don’t really need to say much about Van Dijk, do I?

One day Kieran Tierney may take that position from Andy Robertson, but right now while Tierney regains full fitness, the Liverpool left-back is one of the best in the world in that role.

Midfielders: Dani Ceballos and Georginio Wijnaldum

I was considering both Matteo Guendouzi and James Milner, but I’ve picked Georginio Wijnaldum for his consistency and amazing Champions League performances. Dani Ceballos has only just arrived, but is already creating things in midfield.

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah scored 53 goals between them last season
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Attackers: Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane

The goal scorers are just ridiculous. I just couldn’t scrub out any of Liverpool’s front three and here’s why: Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have scored in every game they’ve played against Arsenal at Anfield. I was at Anfield for the bloodbath that was 5-1 and Firmino scored his ‘no look’ goal and he loves scoring against Arsenal.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, right, has scored in both of Arsenal’s league matches this season
Getty Images - Getty

Forward: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

As the out and out striker, I struggled to pick between Lacazette and Aubameyang, but I’m going for Aubameyang because no matter the situation he would score you goals.

OVERALL: Liverpool 8-3 Arsenal

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Liverpool vs Arsenal: Joe Willock selected by Kevin Nolan in combined XI ahead of Anfield clash

22 Aug

Kevin Nolan believes Joe Willock is good enough to get into a combined Liverpool and Arsenal staring XI.

The Premier League giants face off against one another on Saturday night at 5.30pm, a game you can hear live on talkSPORT as we bring you three live commentaries on GameDay.

Joe Willock has starred for Arsenal so far this season
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Both teams have won their two opening league games and Willock has featured in Arsenal’s victories over Newcastle United and Burnley.

But facing off against the current Champions League holders is a different beast entirely and the 20-year-old’s inclusion by Nolan in the combined XI is surprising.

The former West Ham United and Newcastle captain told Sky Sports he would play Willock alongside Gunners new boy Dani Ceballos in midfield.

This would mean Granit Xhaka, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho all miss out on Nolan’s team, which you can see below.

Nolan’s combined Arsenal and Liverpool team is a head-scratcher
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Willock and Ceballos in midfield could well be a combination Arsenal fans get used to, as the England youth international heaped praise on the Real Madrid loanee.

“Dani’s a top player,” said Willock. “We see it every day in training, he’s just brilliant. He’s very technical.

“He showed on Saturday how good he is going to be and what he will bring to the team. It was a good performance from him. He was top class.

“And every day he’s getting fitter, every day he’s getting better.”

Tony Cascarino explains why Arsenal fans should be worried about Benrd Leno in goal next season

3 Aug

Tony Cascarino has identified Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno as a potential weak spot for the Gunners heading into the new Premier League season.

Arsenal have pulled off some impressive business this summer as they bid to improve on their disappointing fifth-place finish last term.

Leno will be Arsenal’s No. 1 next season following the retirement of Petr Cech
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Nicolas Pepe has arrived from Lille for a club-record £72million and Dani Ceballos also joins on loan from Real Madrid.

However, the Gunners have not strengthened in defence, with William Saliba being loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the season after signing for the north Londoners.

Many fans consider the back four to be Arsenal’s main cause for concern, particularly with mistake-prone centre-back Shkodran Mustafi.

But Cascarino believes they should focus their attention elsewhere.

“The one position I’m a little bit concerned about with Arsenal, and it worried me watching them last season, is the keeper,” he told talkSPORT.

“I think Leno is a big player for them this year, he’s got to be better.

“Last season, he was punching balls that were quite easily catchable and I was thinking, ‘Wow, you’ve got to be better than that, you’ve got to be more commanding’.”

Listen to Cascarino’s comments on Arsenal in full above.

Premier League fantasy football tips: Five bargain goalkeepers you should sign for your Dream Team

18 Jul

Premier League football is back and so is Dream Team fantasy football.

Sign up here if you want to beat your mates, or win some of the £100,000 prize pot.

If you’re going to play you need to have a top defence, as well as a talented attack and no position is more important than that of the goalkeeper.

You only get one, so you don’t want to waste any of your three transfers per month on your shot-stopper.

If you’re going to win big, you need a reliable performer capable of earning the odd Star Man award and regular 7/10 displays on WhoScored to gain vital points.

But managers will also not want to spend too much money so they can spend their £50million budget elsewhere.

So, who are the best bargain goalkeeper in Dream Team? talkSPORT.com have taken a look.

Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea) – £3.5m

If you’re spending bigger bucks on a goalkeeper, the Blues ace is your man.

The only reason £4.0m option Hugo Lloris scored more points than him last year was the Frenchman’s run of penalty saves, meanwhile Frank Lampard’s backline should be stronger with N’Golo Kante likely to play towards his more natural position this term.

Kepa is likely to remain as Chelsea’s no.1 for years to come
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Bernd Leno (Arsenal) – £2.5m

No, we’re not having a moment.

The ex-Bayer Leverkusen shot-stopper isn’t a bad player at all and with more work and possible upgrades this summer we should see an improved defensive output from the Gunners.

Leno will certainly get more points than last season.

Leno has become Arsenal’s no.1 following his arrival last summer
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Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham United) – £2.5m

Only one shot-stopper averaged over 7/10 on WhoScored.com, and that was Polish ace Fabianski.

He might not get heaps of clean sheets, although this could improve with additions to the Hammers, squad but he’s a steady point-scorer.

Fabianski has been a revelation at the London Stadium
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Ralf Fahrmann (Norwich City) – £1.0m

Landing a goalkeeper on loan with eight Bundesliga seasons under their belt is impressive for a newly-promoted side.

Sure, he was displaced at Schalke last season by talented youngster Alexander Nübel but he should be a fine performer at a cheap price.

Fahrmann looks set to be no.1 for Norwich
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Dean Henderson (Sheffield United) – £1.5m

After signing a new contract, Henderson returned to Bramall Lane and we expect him to start.

He’s a fine young talent and one Manchester United really don’t want to lose.

Dean Henderson was in excellent form for Sheffield United last season
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You can sign up here for Dream Team Fantasy Football

Arsenal news: Who will become Gunners captain if Laurent Koscielny leaves this summer?

21 Jun

Arsenal could be on the hunt for a new captain after Laurent Koscielny refused to travel with the Gunners on their pre-season tour of the United States.

The club are set to open disciplinary proceedings with their skipper after announcing their disappointment with his actions.

Laurent Koscielny in action for Arsenal
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He is said to have been offered a three-year deal by Bordeaux, with other Ligue 1 clubs also taking an interest in the former Lorient ace.

Nonetheless, he was expected to be part of the squad flying to the USA on Thursday – but Arsenal confirmed on Thursday Koscielny will stay behind.

“Laurent Koscielny has refused to travel to the US for our pre-season tour,” a short statement on the club’s official website read.

“We are very disappointed by Laurent’s actions, which are against our clear instructions.

“We hope to resolve this matter and will not be providing any further comment at this time.”

But who would take on the captain’s armband should he leave? The Daily Star believe it could be Granit Xhaka having missed out on a move to Atletico Madrid.

talkSPORT.com assesses the candidates.

Granit Xhaka

The Gunners midfielder is now unlikely to leave the Emirates having previously been courted by Atletico Madrid.

His three years with the club as a starter stand him in good stead as does his no nonsense personality, along with the fact he’s already vice-captain along with Mesut Ozil.

The main problem with naming Xhaka as captain is that he’s someone who could find himself replaced next summer as the club continue to rebuild.

Xhaka is a Swiss international
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Sokratis Papastathopoulos

The Greek centre-back, 31, has got a wealth of experience having spent five seasons with Borussia Dortmund prior to last summer’s Emirates switch.

He’s a leader in the backline and has dealt with numerous superstar team-mates in his time, which will help with the Gunners, especially as youngsters like Matteo Guendouzi rise to prominence.

Papastathopoulos has been handed the armband before, becoming AEK Athens’ youngster ever captain, aged 19, in 2008.

Papastathopoulos has a wealth of experience to offer in the role

Alexandre Lacazette

It might come as a surprise but the French striker is now 28-years-old and is 12 games shy of a century of matches at the Emirates in his two seasons.

This year he’s become a truly key player with his clinical finishing seeing him notch 19 goals in 49 appearances across all competitions, while he seems to have bought into the club’s philosophy quite extensively.

His form has earned interest from Barcelona and handing Lacazette the captaincy could keep those wolves from the door and ensure they retain at least one of their superstar strikers.

Lacazette could be a wildcard captain
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Nacho Monreal

Set for one last season at the top with the Gunners, Monreal has been a real rock for the club since he joined from Malaga in 2013.

He’s definitely got the credentials as a leader in the squad and the fact he’s an exemplary professional help his case too.

Like Xhaka, though, Monreal isn’t likely to remain with the club for much longer and it might not make too much sense in the long term, or just look like a sentimental appointment given his lengthy service.

Monreal has been a huge success at the Emirats
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Bernd Leno

The German shot-stopper is a superb diplomat and won the adoration of Arsenal fans last summer with his comments upon joining the club.

Leno worked his way past Petr Cech early last year and has now established himself as the No.1 at the Emirates.

He’s set to be their goalkeeper in the long-term and handing him the captaincy offers him excellent chance for growth as a leader and should keep the Gunners in safe hands.

Could Leno be the long-term successor to Koscielny>
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Hector Bellerin

Some supporters might not be massive fans of what the Spaniard gets up to in his time off but the the player’s commitment to Arsenal is undeniable.

He joined the club as a teenager but considers himself a real Gunner and it’s always been said he conducts himself superbly in training.

Branded ‘independent and driven’ the 24-year-old has still got his best years ahead of him and could ply them at the Emirates as captain.

Bellerin saw last season ended early by a knee injury
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Arsenal transfer news: Goalkeeper target Markus Schubert ‘rejects’ Gunners in favour of Schalke move

19 Jun

Arsenal target Markus Schubert is reportedly set to join Schalke.

Last week, reports claimed the 21-year-old Dynamo Dresden goalkeeper’s arrival at the Emirates was ‘imminent’.

Markus Schubert is a Germany Under-21 international
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However, according to the Daily Mail, the Dynamo Dresden star has opted for a move to Bundesliga club Schalke.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery is on the lookout for a goalkeeper to challenge no.1 Bernd Leno following Petr Cech’s retirement.

Germany Under-21 international Schubert is expected to be Schalke keeper Alexander Nubel’s deputy in the Bundesliga.

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But Nubel has been linked with a move to Bayern Munich, which could open the door for Schubert to stake a claim for a starting place.

The transfer blow for Arsenal could see Emiliano Martinez become the club’s back-up goalkeeper next season.

The 26-year-old Spaniard has spent the last two seasons on loan with Getafe and then Reading.

He joined the Royals in January and made 18 appearances to help the club preserve their Championship status.

Martinez has made just six Premier League appearances since joining Arsenal in 2010.

Arsenal should drop Petr Cech for Bernd Leno in Europa League final against Chelsea, says David Seaman

22 May

David Seaman believes Arsenal should drop Petr Cech for the Europa League final against Chelsea, amid reports the veteran goalkeeper will return to Stamford Bridge this summer.

Cech, who made over 400 appearances in 11 seasons for the Blues, has described the Arsenal vs Chelsea final as the ‘perfect end’ to his playing career, having confirmed earlier this season he will hang up his gloves this summer.

Petr Cech will retire at the end of the season after a glittering career in the Premier League
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The 37-year-old has played the majority of the Gunners’ European games this season, despite Bernd Leno taking his place as the club’s regular number one this term.

But it is unclear is he will keep his place for the final in Baku, with manager Unai Emery keeping his options open ahead of the all-English European clash.

Recent rumours that Cech will move back to London rivals Chelsea this summer to become their new sporting director have also cast doubt on his place in the side for the final.

And club legend Seaman insists the Gunners must field their strongest possible XI against the Blues, meaning Leno should start the game.

Leno has become Arsenal’s No.1 following his arrival last summer
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He told Wednesday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “I know Cech has played all the games but in a final like that, especially against Chelsea…

“Arsenal need to win this game to get into the Champions League. It’s a huge game and worth millions to the club.

“So, for me, you play your strongest team and if that means Leno plays then that’s what I would do.

“I know Arsene Wenger did it with me. Richard Wright played all the FA Cup games and then played me in the final.”