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Hayley Wheeler - Lehmann return exposes Wenger deficiencies

Published: 23 Mar 2011 - 09:57:13

Something that caught my attention last week was Arsene Wenger's attempt to solve his goalkeeping emergency by signing the 41-year-old retired ex-arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann. A move which has been met with mixed emotions from Arsenal fans.

Lehmann, who hates current Emirates keeper Manuel Almunia, sits in the list of Arsenal legends and served five years at the North London club. He remains a fans favourite and the former German international will undoubtedly bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the dressing room and training pitch of a relatively young Gunners side. And there is no denying that when faced with the situation where you are left with one fit first team goal keeper, it is virtually impossible to sign a decent replacement mid-way through the season and Wenger clearly had limited options.

There was a lot of speculation during the summer over the potential signing of Mark Schwarzer from Fulham and more recently, rumours of Manchester City's Shay Given being approached by Wenger. It is obvious that Wenger knows he needs to bolster his options in goal, but once again, two transfer windows have passed, and no signings.

During his career, Lehmann was a quality goalkeeper, but no matter how great he was back in the day, the man retired for a reason and you have to wonder how effective he will be later on in life after a spell of retirement. Hopefully for Arsenal, Wojciech Szczesny, who has appeared from the shadows in a matter of months and performed above and beyond all expectations, will return to action sooner rather than later and Lehmann will not be called upon.

This remains a massive area of frustration for the fans with some losing patience in le professeur for his lack of spending in the transfer windows. Not only have Arsenal been left short of keepers, their defensive options have been stretched to breaking point. There is still no light at the end of the tunnel for Thomas Vermaalen and Johan Djourou is recovering from a dislocated shoulder.

The rallying cries from most fans for extra experience and backup in the squad continually fall on deaf ears and the sanity of the Frenchman has been called into question yet again. Last season saw similar behaviour from Wenger when he re-signed Sol Campbell to plaster over the cracks in his back four. It makes you wonder how long his loyal supporters will stand by him.

I admire the effort and attention Wenger puts into developing young players and he is no doubt the expert in the Premier League at bringing on young talent but the balance of age and experience has, for a number of years, been two or three players short of striking the perfect balance. It seems that he has been more concerned with balancing the books, at the expense of the depth of his squad.

It remains to be seen whether Wenger will dip into his wallet this summer and buy the necessary players so that last ditch signings become a thing of the past.DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Hayley Wheeler
Despite being born and bred in the country, Hayley is a football-mad Tottenham Hotspur fan. Away from the beautiful game she has been eventing her own horses for over 20 years, having previously been a human and equine sports therapist. She has now turned her hand to sport journalism and hopes to one day be gracing your television screen broadcasting the game she loves. Follow Hayley on Twitter @Hayleywsport

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