Wenger desperate to provide more competition for current No 1 Szczesny.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will step up his efforts to sign in-form Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan as soon as the transfer window opens again for business in January.
The purchase of a new shot-stopper is understood to be near the top of the Frenchman’s list of priorities for the new year, along with the addition of a word-class striker.
Wenger was linked with a whole host of big-name ‘keepers during the summer, including the likes of Spain internationals Iker Casillas, Victor Valdes and Jose Manuel Reina, as well as Hamburg’s Rene Adler, after dropping first-choice Wojciech Szczesny in the second half of the previous campaign.
The young Pole was axed for the Gunners’ trip to face Bayern Munich in the second leg of their key Champions League clash at the Allianz Arena last March owing to what his manager described as “mental fatigue”.
And despite the fact that Wenger did eventually sign Emiliano Viviano from Serie A outfit Palermo on transfer deadline day, the 27-year-old has only arrived at the Emirates on a season-long loan to provide backup as the manager continues to look for a more long-term option.
Wenger is said to still be determined to push ahead with plans to sign a new experienced goalkeeper in the new year in order to provide some much-needed competition to Szczesny between the sticks, and has now identified Guzan as his top target.
The USA international has been perhaps the stand-out shot-stopper so far in the top flight in this campaign, with the 29-year-old having already produced a number of man-of-the-match displays for struggling Aston Villa.
And those impressive performances simply come on the back of a brilliant campaign in goal last time out, without which the west Midlands outfit almost certainly would have been relegated to the Championship in May.
The American has been at Villa since July 2008, joining the club from Major League Soccer outfit Chivas USA for just £600,o00, although it took the player some time before he was able to dislodge veteran Republic of Ireland international Shay Given from the team.
Guzan was even sent out on a one-month loan to Championship side Hull City in December 2010 in order to get valuable game time, but it was not until the arrival of Lambert as the club’s new head coach that the keeper was given his chance to prove his worth in the first team.
And ever since he returned to the side in the 2011-12 campaign, Guzan has not looked back, featuring in 37 matches in total in all competitions last time out under the Scot, 36 of which came in the top flight as Villa just avoided the drop, while so far in this season the goalkeeper has once again been ever-present in the league.
The one major sticking point though to Wenger being successful in his efforts to lure Guzan to the capital next year is that the ‘keeper only just agreed a new four-year deal with Villa back in July that now ties the American to the club until June 30 2017.
However, with Wenger set to offer Guzan the chance to compete fairly and squarely with his current No 1 to be his first choice at the Emirates going forward, and with the opportunity to also challenge for both this season’s Premier League title and Champions League as well, the Arsenal manager is said to be extremely confident of being able to persuade him to join the Gunners.