Schwarzer, Given, Almunia: Compared

Mark Schwarzer
Club: Fulham FC (apps: 75, previously Middlesboro with 367)
Country: Australia (caps: 79)
Height: 65
Age: 37 (38 in October)
(Click Here for a YouTube Video of Schwarzer)

Mark is the keeper that originally got Arsenal supporters’ expecting a transfer. He is desperate to play Champions League football and has made it clear that he is hungry for any top-tier opportunities offered to him in the autumn of his career. His exceptional height makes him valuable on set pieces–especially corners–where Arsenal have been exposed many times in the last few seasons. As well, his experience should give him a calm head to deal with the increased expectations if he does make the switch from Craven Cottage to the Emirates.

He has expressed interest recently in Arsenal, and has handed in a transfer request to new manager Mark Hughes.

Shay Given
Club: Manchester City (apps: 50, previously Newcastle with 354)
Country: Republic of Ireland (caps: 104)
Height: 61
Age: 34
(Click Here for a YouTube Video of Given)

Having fallen down the pecking order at Manchester City, with Robeto Mancini opting for young Englishman Joe Hart as his new No. 1, Given looks set to move in order to resume his starting role. The talented keeper has had several outstanding seasons in the Premier League, which prompted his move to Manchester City as one of their first big-name signings, but is now viewed as surplus to requirements with Mancini publicly declaring he will allow him to leave if he wishes.

Given is seen as potentially difficult to acquire however; it is yet to be seen if City will be willing to sell to one of their Premier League rivals, or if Wenger will be willing to pay the sum that Given will require.

Manuel Almunia
Club: Arsenal (apps: 102, no notable prior clubs)
Country: Spain (uncapped)
Height: 6 2″
Age: 33
(Click Here for a YouTube Video of Almunia)

Arsenal’s current keeper, Almunia has been with the club since 2005 and took over from the legendary Jens Lehmann following the end of his Gunners career. Almunia has had some strong games in his time at Arsenal, but more recently has been mired by inconsistency and poor performances causing a call by many supporters to replace him. Seemingly lacking confidence in his first game (at Anfield), Wenger has pushed to support him but Manuel admits he is finding it difficult with all the transfer speculation circling the camp.

It appears that his lack of confidence is caused by a lack of support, and that lack of support stems from poor performances resulting from lost confidence. A dangerous cycle; the question is, will Wenger replace him or keep the faith in Arsenal’s current No. 1? And, how will the fans react to either decision?

For now, you can post your reactions and suggestions.

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