Wednesday 25 April 2018

Szczesny seals Roma loan switch

Wojciech Szczesny will represent Roma during the 2015-16 season
Wojciech Szczesny will represent Roma during the 2015-16 season

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has joined Serie A title hopefuls Roma on a season-long loan deal.

The 25-year-old Poland international was limited to 17 Barclays Premier League appearances for the Gunners last season, with David Ospina gradually wresting control of the gloves at the Emirates Stadium, and the arrival of Petr Cech from Chelsea has increased competition further.

Szczesny told "I've come here to win matches and trophies with Roma and I think the team are strong enough to do that. I think there's great potential here.

"I already know the faces and the names of my new team-mates and I'm hoping to get settled here quickly."

Szczesny, who lost his place to Colombia stopper Ospina shortly after shipping two goals in a 2-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year's Day, also hit the headlines for reportedly smoking in the showers after that game.

Manager Arsene Wenger insists the former Legia Warsaw keeper has a future in north London.

"I personally rate him highly - you do not take a boy and put him in the first team at the age of 20," he said last week, before the loan was confirmed.

"He already has huge experience. I don't want that experience at such a young age to be wasted."

However, the capture of Champions League-winning Cech following his 11 successful years at Chelsea meant Szczesny was unlikely to have much hope of reclaiming the number one jersey this coming season. .

Wenger added: "How much can he grow with Petr Cech next to him, who is happy to share his huge experience, and how much mentally will he be able to live with the fact that he doesn't play regularly?

"It is a position that, if you are number two or three, it is more difficult."

Szczesny will compete for a spot between the sticks at the Stadio Olimpico with former Italy international Morgan De Sanctis, while veteran Romanian keeper Bogdan Lobont is also part of the Giallorossi squad.

Roma have twice finished as runners-up to Juventus under head coach Rudi Garcia - last season began with a run of five straight league victories but ended with the Bianconeri sitting 17 points clear at the top of the table.

Szczesny said on the Roma website that he had chosen the Italians over a number of other offers as he was keen to keep playing in the Champions League.

"It was a no-brainer for me," he said. "Once the offer from Roma came in, I spoke to Arsene Wenger and he told me it would be a fantastic move for me to join Roma and play in the Champions League, fight for the Serie A title and try and improve the squad.

"I then spoke to Walter Sabatini and made my decision very quickly. I think it's a great opportunity for me to gain valuable experience as a young goalkeeper but also to try and help the team."

Szczesny acknowledged his troubles with the Gunners last season, but said he was confident he could make a positive impact in Serie A.

"I believe I'm able to win points for the team," he said. "I think that when you look at a goalkeeper over a season, you want to see how many points you've won for the team and how many mistakes you've made.

"You add them all up and you hope that your goalkeeper has won points for the team. I had a difficult time last year - I'm the first person to admit that. I didn't have the best of seasons, that's why things have turned out the way they have, but I'm grateful because it gives me the opportunity to join Roma this season.

"I believe if I work hard - and with the help of the coaches - I'll be able to help the team improve from last season and hopefully challenge for the title."

Press Association

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