Reports originating in The Express suggest Arsenal are preparing to vie with AC Milan and Southampton to sign 27-year-old Denmark international Kasper Schmeichel.
The former Manchester City protégé is, of course, the son of Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel but would the Dane be a sensible option for the Gunners this summer?
The stopper has been playing in the Football League for the majority of his career thus far with Notts County, Leeds United and Leicester after no less than five loan spells during his five years on the books at Manchester City. He has made just three senior appearances for Denmark since receiving his first call up to the squad last year.
Presumably, Arsenal would target him as a replacement for Lukasz Fabianski as the second-choice Polish keeper will leave North London when his contract expires this summer. Fabianski’s first team opportunities have been blocked for many years now by his junior compatriot Wojciech Szczesny who will remain first choice but Schmeichel could prove to be just the kind of signing that keeps Szczesny on his toes, providing competition for his place.
Incidentally, Schmeichel’s contract with Leicester City also expires this summer in June and, subsequently, the Gunners could sign him on a free transfer which sounds like exactly the kind of deal the infamously frugal Arsenal boss would look to make, especially considering he is resigned to losing Fabianski on a free.
Schmeichel would indeed be a very sensible option, financially and practically for the Gunners but would he be able to cover for Szczesny at the top level should the Pole get injured?
Schmeichel has proven himself an asset at Championship level but has no experience to speak of at continental level or international competitive level, having made just one appearance for Denmark in a competitive match not at a tournament.
There is no doubt the son of the Red Devils’ legend has ability but he is as yet unproven and whilst Arsenal would predominantly have Szczesny between the sticks, having an experienced and quality replacement is vital in case of injury, suspension and competition for places.
Would Kasper Schmeichel represent an improvement on Fabianski, ultimately? The 29-year-old has 21 caps under his belt for Poland including appearances at the European Championships in 2008, he has more than a dozen appearances in the Champions League for Arsenal and has featured against the likes of Bayern Munich in recent months and is the man who has ensured the Gunners remain in the FA Cup this season with a chance to end their trophy drought with some fine displays for his club.
Overall, Kasper Schmeichel would represent a sensible signing financially and practically but he would not represent an improvement or genuine replacement for Fabianski which would prove to be disadvantageous for Arsenal should they need to use him at the top level in the Champions League or for long periods in the Premier League if something were to happen to Szczesny.