Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is on the hunt for a new goalkeeper who could potentially replace Petr Cech on the long-term.
The Gunners are likely to lose both Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina this summer, and this would leave an inexperienced Emiliano Martinez to take up the backup duties next season.
Szczesny had already agreed personal terms over a move to Juventus, and the deal is likely to be finalised this week after the Pole was left out of the Gunners’ pre-season tour of Australia and China. Meanwhile, Ospina is also craving for regular playing time next term, and he could be eyeing a return to France with Nantes – managed by former Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri, interested in his signature.
According to The Sun, Wenger has identified a young prodigy from France to compete with Cech for the goalkeeping position. 18-year-old Alban Lafont has already established himself as the first-choice for Toulouse, and he has caught the eye of the Gunners boss, who is looking to groom a new shot-stopper in his ranks.
Lafont has already managed 60 appearances in Ligue 1 to date while his ability to make point-blank saves has earned him plaudits from the club’s faithful. One similar example in the Premier League is Jordan Pickford, who put in a stellar performance against Arsenal last season to save the blushes of Sunderland, who lost by just a 2-0 scoreline. Pickford has, however, picked Everton as his new club this summer, and the north London giants could test the youngster’s reflexes again during the upcoming campaign.
Petr Cech has lost some of his pace over the years, and he is no longer capable of striding forward towards strikers, which was evident when he conceded the opening goal in Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final last term. Lafont currently has a contract with Toulouse until 2020, and the Gunners will have to pay a sum between £20m and £30m in order to test the French club’s resolve this summer.