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The 5 Keepers Who Could Replace Petr Cech

As Arsenal head into the summer, the feeling of “need for change” permeates at every level. One of the biggest playing changes we need is someone to succeed Petr Cech between the sticks for the club.

Cech was in his prime the best GK in England. The hope had to be at the time that as GKs can play longer, that there was still enough time to get the best out of Cech and have one Arsenal’s young keepers mature enough to take over. That however, hasn’t happened.

Cech has gone from one inconsistent performance to the next. His distribution continues to be woeful and the fact that he saved a penalty 2 weeks ago surprised EVERYONE says all you need to know about our current goalkeeping situation. Add to that the fact that maybe our youngsters haven’t matured quickly enough and the need for a new GK is as strong as it has been since Mad Jens left the club (the first time.)

We that in mind we take a look at 5 potential replaces for Cech. We’ll leave it up to you to determine which is the most realistic target.

Current Club: Atletico Madrid
Age: 25
Nationality: Slovenian
Height: 6’2”
Record (all comps): 36 GP 22 CS 18 GC
Transfer Fee: £63 million (per

“It’s not easy to talk about what’s going to happen tomorrow never mind what will happen next season, but I am calm and the situation depends on Atletico – nobody knows the future.”

With that statement, the speculation went into overdrive that Oblak’s days at Atletico were numbered. Entering the peak of playing time, Oblak is widely considered one of the brightest GK talents out there and its no coincidence that Arsenal are linked to him.

Known for an intense, yet quiet personality, he exudes a calm demeanor even when things don’t go well in front of him. His work ethic saw him rise from a side in Slovenia through the third tier of Portuguese football and eventually land at Atletico Madrid.

It wasn’t however until a Champion’s League final 16 tie against Bayern Leverkusen, that Oblak really won over everyone with a clean sheet performance that stifled the Germans and kept them quiet in the penalty shootout.

He’s a keeper that doesn’t tend to punch the ball away and would rather win it and distribute it immeditately. He doesn’t dance on his line and prefers to hold his line. And one of his greatest strengths his is ability to force the forward into decisions. He doesn’t play as a sweeper-keeper and views his job simply as this – keep the ball out of the net. A trait that saw him win La Liga’s best keeper award two years in a row.

He may be too elite now for Madrid and by extension for Arsenal. The price tag is huge even for a keeper of this class. Which is why we can expect that the likes of PSG may be where he goes. Still, if Arsenal want a keeper no one would be better

Alisson Becker
Current Club: AS Roma
Age: 25
Nationality: Brazilian
Height: 6’3”
Record (all comps): 37 GP 17 CS 31 GC
Transfer Fee: £14.4 million (per

With Gigi Buffon set to retire either at the end of this season or next, it was widely considered that Donarumma would take the mantle as the best keeper in Serie A. Oddly enough it is the man replacing Wojciech Szczesny (who is set to replace Buffon) at Roma that is turning heads.

Statistically, his save percventage is 80.21% making him the best in the league. He is lauded for not only stopping the most number of shots faced but is a keeper who is making the saves on the most dangerous shots in the league.

His strengths included the ability to be in the right position and cover a large portion of the goal. His movement adjusts so well when faced with a forward bearing down on goal. Additionally, his distribution is fantastic and is on par with his national compatriot Ederson at City – especially his long range passing.

And his national manager Dunga says he excels in the area of anticipation:

“The ‘keeper thinks like a striker and tries to anticipate if the opposition forward will dribble or shoot, and how he will shoot: close to the ground, in the air, with power, and in what direction.”

Widely considered a complete keeper, he is on his way to being considered in the same ranks as Buffon, Neuer, and Oblak. Right now the price is right and he would be an excellent addition to the squad.

Timo Horn
Current Club: FC Köln
Age: 24
Nationality: German
Height: 6’4”
Record (all comps): 36 GP 7 CS 59 GC
Transfer Fee: £10.8 million (per – could drop to as low as £5.4 m if the EffZeh are relegated

It may be hard to get a good read on Timo Horn from this season alone considering the team playing in front of him isn’t that good and there is only so much a ‘keeper can do. He has faced a league high 80 shots (as of January this year) and there are calls for Jogi Löw to include him in the World Cup squad because of his heroics.

Like former Gunner and German counter-part, Lukas Podolski Horn is a product of the club he currently plys his trade at having risen through the youth ranks. As he grew his size and influence helped EffZeh on the way. Eventually helping them regain promotion to the Bundesliga.

His size, combined with excellent reaction time and reflexes makes him a beast in the box, especially from short range. This has helped with a team who have a tendency to sit deep against better sides. And while this season alone has been dreadful for Köln as whole, it wasn’t long ago that they allowed the fewest goals out of the Bundlesliga’s bottom half.

His weaknesses are probably why we won’t go for him. He has issues with long-passing and his break from the line is a little slow. His passing percentage is mediocre but that could be in response to how Köln play. Despite not allowing a lot of second chances he still is weak when it comes to corners. The team in front of him isn’t that good and when he can’t get the ball it usually results in a shot on goal or sadly a goal.

If Horn is the option than it is really because of the price and promise. He’d be a work in progress and would require a GK coach to work with him regularly.

Bernd Leno
Current Club: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Age: 26
Nationality: German
Height: 6’3”
Record (all comps): 31 GP 10 CS 38 GC
Transfer Fee: £12.2 million (per

He is only the third keeper in Bundesliga history to keep 3 consecutive clean sheets in his first three matches and the youngest (19) to ever play in a Champion’s League match. Since his debut he has managed to play 220 matches for Leverkusen missing only 6 in that time – that is more than any other keeper in Germany.

He is eyeing a spot on Löw’s squad for Russia with the 1 & 2 slots filled with Neuer and Ter Stegen but the final slot wide open.

The Leverkusen stalwart is a solid shot stopper even in PKs where in one season he saved 5 out 8 including 3 in a row.

They say to be a Goalkeeper you just have to the right amount of crazy and Leno seems to fit that mold. But that crazy also equates to heroics and Leno has that in spades. The man even played with a broken nose in the Champion’s League.

Like many goalkeepers from Germany his greatest strength is his reaction and reflexes. Just like Horn he is effective on shots in the box. said it best as they summed up his overall strengths:

More in the Neuer mould, Leno’s shot-stopping ability is only one dimension of a playing style that is based more on his overall team involvement. Modifying the sweeper-keeper role and becoming even more actively involved in Leverkusen’s fluid football has seen Leno average more touches of the ball and play more passes than any other goalkeeper this term.

This is one to keep your eye on. Along with Alisson the price is right and the prospects are good. He’s a lot stronger than Horn and a lot cheaper than Oblak. Given the Sven connection and our recent penchant for shopping in Germany, don’t be surprised if he wears the number 1 shirt come next year.

Nick Pope
Current Club: Burnley
Age: 25
Nationality: English
Height: 6’4”
Record (all comps): 20 GP 12 CS 28 GC
Transfer Fee: £4.3 million (per

Of the Premier League’s top keepers, Pope ranks behind only David De Gea in save percentage stopping 80.2% of the shots on target he has faced (de Gea has an 80.7%). Pope has also saved 11 of the 22 clear cut chances he has faced this season which leads the league (of those who have faced at least 10 such chances.)

As most keepers should he provides a solid base for which one of the best defenses in the Premier League to build off of. He has made 89 saves from 111 shots on target faced and has kept 10 clean sheets this season.

More tellingly – he has not committed a single error that has led to an opposition goal.

He is young, and in form. He is English – which would address home grown issues and for Arsenal he is likely to be cheap – for now.

The rest

There are of course other options out there. Emi Martinez, the Arsenal keeper on loan to Getafe should be considered but it should be known his loan hasn’t worked out well as he has only managed to play in 6 total games in all competitions and has allowed 9 goals. The gargantuan lad, Matt Macey also at Arsenal should get a look and likely too Jack Butland.

All this being said, the position needs a severe overhaul. We let Szczesny leave – not because of technical issues with his game but personality issues between him and the manager. In hindsight it is a disastrous decision, especially if we do wind up changing managers.

The GK position is as we said about Pope the foundation for everything for a team. If its not solid the defense isn’t solid. While we need to look at the players that make up the back 4 we need to  fix the GK situation as well if not first.

Petr Cech sadly, is past it and its time we move on.

Note: all profile images come from Transfermarkt

Who would you consider for GK at Arsenal?


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