Disgraced Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is fighting for his future in north London - not because of the recent smoking incident after the 2-0 defeat against Southampton, but because of his ongoing failure to reach his full potential.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the Poland international is expected to retain his place in the Gunners' starting XI for Sunday's Premier League clash against Stoke City, despite receiving a £20,000 fine for his changing room antics on New Year's Day.
Arsene Wenger was furious with Szczesny for lighting a cigarette in the showers at St Mary's, however he's set to return to the Arsenal line-up after being rested for the FA Cup victory over Hull City at the weekend.
The Gunners boss does hold reservations about the 24-year-old's long-term status as first-choice stopper though, and has ordered senior scouts to identify a potential replacement for Szczesny at the Emirates Stadium.
Szczesny's future will ultimately depend on how he performs between now and the end of the season, after receiving a final vote of confidence from Wenger to keep picking him ahead of David Ospina and Emiliano Martinez.
Article continues below
The controversial custodian penned a four-year contract extension with Arsenal just over 12 months ago, believed to be worth a whopping £20.8 million - making Szczesny one of the highest-paid goalkeepers in world football.
However, his inconsistent form means the Pole has failed to justify his £100,000-a-week wages, particularly after a catalogue of high-profile errors this season. The Legia Warsaw academy graduate was solely responsible for both goals conceded against Saints on January 1, and also let down his teammates after being sent off against Galatasaray in the Champions League.
Overall, Wenger has been pretty pleased with his level of performance in 2014/15, though, and that's why he's prepared to give his current No.1 the rest of the campaign to save his Arsenal career.