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Why goalkeeper signing is crucial to Arsenal's summer

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The Gunners have been linked to unknown AS Nancy goalkeeper Paul Nardi, who could answer one of the club's less apparent flaws.

How typical it was of Arsenal to be linked with an unknown Ligue 2 goalkeeper on the same day suggestions emerged that Arsene Wenger will pen new terms with the club this summer.

The man in question, Paul Nardi, should not be unfairly chastised because of that, but his name is not the sort to get the Gunners faithful crowing.

With Wenger also reportedly set to be the recipient of a £70m transfer kitty, fans will rightly query where the funds will be spent this summer. The Frenchman, after all, failed to add the striker Arsenal so visibly required in two transfer windows, could he be trusted to deliver the requisite additions. 

Although Nardi's name may not get pulses racing, it could serve as a shrewd piece of business by the Gunners as they seek to avoid a potential crisis between the posts.

The rise of Wojciech Szczesny has been to Wenger's disadvantage with regards to Lukasz Fabianski, who appears a surefire bet to depart this summer with his contract up and little chance of permanently displacing his international compatriot.

Fabianski has been Arsenal's FA Cup 'keeper this term but has been unable to hold down a regular first-team spot and will seek pastures new, while Emiliano Viviano will go down with the likes of Guillaume Warmuz and Amaury Bischoff as one of the club's most futile signings having failed to make an appearance during his time in London.

And therein lies one of Arsenal's greatest problems this summer, and one that has been gravely overlooked in favour of the more glaring needs up front and in defensive midfield.

The goalkeeping issue threatens to become a crisis with the out-of-favour duo's anticipated departures and with just Szczesny and the on-loan Damian Martinez on the club's books, a new shot-stopped could prove just as pivotal as a proven marksman.

Nardi, for various reasons, could fit the bill. The 19-year-old has broken into the AS Nancy first-team setup this season and has made the No.1 jersey his own with some commanding displays in goal, conceding 27 goals in as many appearances.

He has only conceded more than once in a game on just five occasions this season and, while undoubtedly raw, the way Yaya Sanogo has been thrust into the limelight proves Nardi may not have to wait long for a first-team shot.

The report, by Get French Football News, also suggests AS Monaco and St Etienne are in the running for the French U20 international, whose stock has elevated considerably in his debut campaign.

The alternative school of thought highlights both the lack of experience and English top flight knowhow Fabianski leaves behind in the close season and, for that alone, Wenger - should he remain in charge - may be more interested in attaining someone in the mould of Iker Casillas, who has had to play largely second fiddle to Diego Lopez at Real Madrid this season.

Everton also reportedly hold an interest in the highly-regarded Nardi, whose meteoric surge through the ranks at hometown club Nancy may be about to see him bypass a stint in Ligue 1 - with his side in contention for promotion to the top flight - and come to Arsenal's rescue in goal.

Nardi will not be the Gunners' marquee buy, it must be hastened to add, and could be picked up for a relatively nominal fee, so would not impact on Wenger's budget.

It would hardly appease a forever increasingly disgruntled fanbase who want to see the manager prove last summer's acquisition of Mesut Özil was no fluke, but the signing of a goalkeeper, Nardi or whoever it may be that comes in to occupy the sizable reserve goalkeeper berth left by Fabianski's exit.

Arsenal fans may not yet know it, but the prospective addition of Nardi could prove an important one in challenging Szczesny's monopolisation of the No.1 shirt and providing Wenger with a potential star of tomorrow for a knock-down price.

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