Arsenal’s summer-long pursuit of Julio Cesar has been protracted and vague, but signing the Brazilian would offer them not just a world class goalkeeper, but a fantastic role model for budding young custodian Wojciech Szczesny.
Before the late season period in which Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker finally got the Gunners defence locked down, there was an almost constant muttering regarding the need for Arsenal to improve in defence.
Yet the fact that they were relying upon a young goalkeeper to aid in the marshalling of their back-line was scarcely mentioned.
Gooners first knew they might have a talented young stopper on their hands when news of Szczesny’s strong performances on loan at Brentford began filtering back to the Emirates in 2009 and since then he’s amassed 78 starts for his club in the league alone.
However – as Arsenal themselves have seen with youngsters like Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – allowing young talents to become regular parts of the first team too early can sometimes curb their potential rather than help it develop fully.
In recent years there has been a dearth of senior keepers at the Emirates for Szczesny to learn from on the training ground and Cesar – winner of 74 caps for his country as well as five Scudetti, a Champions League and a Confederations Cup – would have plenty to teach the young Pole.
They have exemplary shot-stopping abilities in common, but Szczesny still has much to develop in terms of concentration – errors pockmarked his 2012/13 campaign – and offering extra leadership and organisation to his defenders.
As well as potentially playing a part in the development of Arsenal’s long-term number one – who is still just 23 – Cesar offers world class skills for a cut price fee. With potential rivals for his signature thin on the ground now that Napoli have all but signed Pepe Reina from Liverpool, the deal should be easy to complete.
Cesar’s reported £90,000 wages may be the only stumbling block for the notoriously parsimonious Gunners, who are 15/1 to win the Premier League with a +10 point handicap in the divisional handicap market.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.