FA Cup Champions Arsenal are keeping a close eye on Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford in a bid to replace David Ospina and Wojciech Szczesny.
According to a report in The Sun, the Gunners are reportedly targeting the Englishman as a possible replacement for Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina, both of whom are expected to to sign for Juventus and Fenerbahce in the coming weeks, respectively.
Despite conceding 53 goals in 33 appearances in all competitions, the 23-year-old was one of the few positives in Sunderland’s disastrous season, which saw them get relegated to the Championship after 10 years in the English top flight.
The Washington-born Pickford, joined Sunderland’s academy at the tender age of 8 and has since made his way through the ranks. In between that time, he spent time on loan with Darlington, Carlisle United, Burton Albion, Bradford City, Preston North End and Alfreton Town.
Pickford is also said to be a target for West Ham United and Everton. The Toffees reportedly had a bid of around £8 million rejected by Sunderland for him. At 23 years of age and Premier League-proven, he would prove to be a good long term replacement for Petr Cech who recently turned 35.
He would serve as a direct replacement for David Ospina, who has mainly featured in Cup games this season for Arsenal, while Cech has been Wenger’s first choice shot-stopper for the Premier League. 12 of his 14 appearances this came in the FA Cup, Champions League and the Capital One Cup.
At only 28 years of age, the Colombian is in the best years of his career and needless to say, would want to play far more. Szczesny on the other hand has been AS Roma’s undisputed first-choice keeper since joining them on loan from Arsenal at the start of the 2015/16 season.
Szczesny lost his place in the Arsenal starting XI to David Ospina in the midst of the 2014/15 Premier League season. That and the arrival of Pter Cech prompted him to leave the Emirates, which led him to sign for the Giallorossi on a season-long loan, which was later extended for another season.
It is unlikely that the Polish international would want to return to Arsenal to play second fiddle to Petr Cech, while he can compete in the Champions League, whilst also serving as an understudy before possibly becoming to successor to the legendary Gianluigi Buffon, now 39 years of age.