Arsenal have entered the race to sign highly-rated Germany Under-21 international goalkeeper Loris Karius, who has risen to prominence with Bundesliga outfit Mainz over the past two seasons.
The 21-year-old is wanted by a host of top European clubs including Borussia Dortmund, Schalke and Valencia - but Arsenal hope to land themselves a bargain by signing the young star, whose contract expires at the end of the season, according to the Mirror.
Described as the ‘next Manuel Neuer’ by the Metro, Karius is widely regarded as the Bundesliga’s second best goalkeeper at present behind the Bayern Munich and Germany No. 1.
Karius: Former Man City starlet
A former member of Manchester City’s academy setup, Karius might be seen as a potential replacement for Arsenal’s current first-choice keeper Wojciech Szczesny, the 24-year-old Poland international who was at fault for both goals in the Gunners’ 2-0 defeat to Southampton on New Year’s Day.
While Szczesny is undoubtedly a decent Premier League goalkeeper, he lacks the same world-class quality that his counterparts at top-four competitors possess. Thibaut Courtois, David de Gea, Joe Hart and Hugo Lloris are all widely regarded as more reliable and consistent keepers.
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Potential world-class keeper
Karius, though, appears to possess the potential to become a world-class goalkeeper - and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will not want to miss the opportunity to land such a promising young star.
In order to secure his signature, however, Wenger may need to act sooner rather than later. While the veteran French coach is prepared to wait until the summer to sign the German starlet, he runs the risk of missing out on the player altogether by opting to wait.
January deal possible
With rival suitors keen to seal a deal for Karius this month, Wenger might be forced to get a deal done before the winter transfer window closes.
Karius’s potential arrival would plunge Szczesny’s future at the Emirates Stadium into serious doubt. The Pole has been Arsenal’s undisputed No. 1 since the 2011-12 campaign but has failed to progress in the manner Wenger hoped he would at the start of his Gunners’ career.
Arsenal’s second-choice goalkeeper, David Ospina, may also consider his options. The 26-year-old is yet to make a single Premier League appearance for the north London outfit after joining the club from Nice in the summer.