Arsenal to beat Newcastle and Everton for ‘staggering’ goalkeeper?

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Reading's Alex McCarthy is a wanted man after a string of fine performances this season.

Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy could be faced with a three-way choice of clubs, after it was reported that Arsenal joined the race for his signature.

Twenty-six-year-old McCarthy, a product of Reading’s academy, has been in fine form for the Championship side this season, keeping Adam Federici out of the team.

According to the Daily Mirror, Wenger is on the lookout for a back-up keeper for first-choice Wojciech Szczesny, and sees McCarthy as a perfect possible option.

A move for McCarthy could also pave the way for Lukasz Fabianski, who is out of contract at the end of the season, to move to Bundesliga side FC Schalke.

Whether McCarthy would choose a place on the bench at Arsenal over potentially being first-choice at Newcastle is another matter. Magpies boss Alan Pardew would like McCarthy as a replacement for Tim Krul, who is wanted by Juventus.

A move to the north-east would seem the obvious choice for McCarthy, particularly given that Wenger only handed Szczesny a new long-term contract in November. The Pole now seems set for a long stay as Arsenal’s No.1.

Everton appear outsiders in the chase for his signature, but manager Roberto Martinez wants a long-term replacement for Tim Howard, so a move to Goodison could also be on the cards.

McCarthy has plenty to offer, too. He has been at Reading since 2007, and has gained experience with a series of loan spells at a host of lower-league sides including Yeovil Town, Leeds United and Ipswich Town.

The goalkeeper’s finest moment came in a 0-0 draw against Liverpool last season, when he made a string of brilliant saves to deny Brendan Rodgers’ side. Liverpool had launched attack after attack at the Reading goal – rattling in 23 shots – only to find McCarthy hell-bent on keeping them out. A bemused Rodgers later described McCarthy’s performance as ‘absolutely staggering’.

He has twice been called up for the England senior squad.

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