A transfer between Arsenal and Tottenham is never easy. However, if Arsenal can snare Hugo Lloris they will simultaneously solve their goalkeeping problem and deal a huge blow to their local rivals.
The Gunners were reportedly offered Lloris back in the summer of 2012. At the time he was with Lyon and looking to secure a move to the Premier League. However, at that stage Arsene Wenger felt compelled to show faith in Wojciech Szczesny, who he had ear-marked as the long-term number one at the Emirates Stadium. Lloris instead moved to Spurs for a fee of €15 million.
Wenger may now regret that decision. Szczesny has since fallen out of favour, with a combination of poor form and worse conduct seeing him relegated to the substitutes bench. David Ospina - like Lloris, a former Nice goalkeeper - has taken his place, but doubts persist about his long-term suitability for the role. His lack of height is a particular concern in a league which poses such a perennial aerial threat.
Lloris would presumably be interested in a switch across north London. Although he has embraced life at Tottenham, he remains determined to return to the Champions League. Spurs have never looked particularly likely to secure a place in the top four this season, and given the financial resources available to their competitors it’s far from guaranteed that they’ll be able to make it any time soon. If Lloris wants to play elite European football, he may have to leave White Hart Lane.
Prising him away from Tottenham would not be easy. Daniel Levy is an infamously tough negotiator, and would be determined to stop a player who has regularly captained Spurs defect across north London. Unibet's own Julien Laurens has suggested that Lloris might have a €20 million escape clause in his contract in the event of Tottenham finishing outside the top four, but that report remains unconfirmed. If there is no such clause, Arsenal would have to pay big money to break Levy’s resolve and secure Lloris’ signature.
It might well be worth it. As things stand, the £4m Wenger spent to sign Ospina remains the most he has paid for a goalkeeper. If he is to secure a world class stopper, he may have to go way above that price.
Lloris, captain of France, would appear to be in that bracket. He’s confident claiming crosses, good with his feet, and aware enough to sweep up behind the back for. What’s more, he’s still just 28 - his best years would appear to be ahead of him. Lloris could be Arsenal’s goalkeeper for the next decade, providing a long-term solution for a long-term problem.
It would also bring Arsenal fans immense joy to snatch another star away from Spurs. The acquisition of Sol Campbell back in 2001 proved incredibly successful, as the Gunners secured a domestic double in his first season with the club.
If Arsenal want to hit those heights again, they may need to recruit a goalkeeper of Lloris’ undoubted calibre.
Read more from James McNicholas, a.k.a @Gunnerblog