Arsene Wenger is facing a massive battle to keep David Ospina at the club beyond the summer transfer window with the Colombian goalkeeper reportedly set on leaving north London.
According to the Evening Standard, Ospina has been left disappointed by the lack of first-team football afforded to him so far this season. The arrival of Petr Cech last summer saw Ospina demoted from first-choice to the bench and that situation looks unlikely to change in the near future.
The 27-year-old should start Saturday's FA Cup game against Hull City and will likely retain his place in the cup competition even if Arsenal make it to the final. However, Ospina believes he is at a point in his career where he needs to be playing regularly and wants to join a club who can promise him the No.1 spot.
Article continues below
That puts Wenger in a rather tricky position. He obviously understands Ospina's frustration, but also rates him very highly. Indeed, the Frenchman went as far as to call him "world-class" in an interview last month.
He said: "I personally think he is world-class. I did not take Petr Cech based on the performances of Ospina. Petr Cech was just an exceptional opportunity where it was difficult to say no. It was not because I was unhappy with Ospina."
Article continues below
Wenger's approval of Ospina was made clear at the beginning of the season when he started him in Arsenal's two opening Champions League group games against Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos. The Gunners lost both of those games with the latter including a high-profile clanger from the shot-stopper.
It was later claimed that Wenger had promised Ospina the chance to play all cup games for the club in exchange for agreeing to stay past the summer. Public pressure forced Wenger to rescind that promise and Cech deputised in the next game against Bayern Munich. Ospina has played just once since September as a result.
Interest & replacement
Despite his lack of involvement, several clubs are interested in signing him. The same report says Getafe, Besiktas, Genoa and Palermo are all keeping an eye on the situation while it is claimed the man himself is looking to stay in the Premier League. Arsenal will likely demand £5m for him.
It is, of course, a nice problem to have for the Gunners. Cech's sensational form may have pushed Ospina towards the exit door, but more importantly, it has helped establish Arsenal as Premier League title contenders. However, that doesn't change the fact that Wenger is facing a difficult summer in the goalkeeping department.
Ospina looks set to leave while there is also significant doubt over Wojciech Szczesny's future. The Pole has spent the season on loan at AS Roma and it is not clear whether Wenger wants him back in the squad. Szczesny infamously irked the Arsenal boss after being caught smoking in the dressing room showers on New Year's Day last year.