Why David Ospina Is The Unluckiest Of Arsenal's One-Season Wonders


If, as seems likely, David Ospina is sold to Fenerbahce this summer, he has the right to feel somewhat aggrieved. The Colombian was brought to Arsenal to provide competition and cover for Wojciech Szczesny, and certainly fulfilled his part of the bargain.

Over the course of the 2014/15 campaign, he managed to displace the Pole and become a regular member of the Arsenal first XI. However, the expected arrival of Petr Cech seems set to force Ospina out of Arsenal after just 12 months.

It’s unusual for Arsene Wenger to be quite so ruthless with a new player. The Gunners boss often argues that it can take a year for a foreign arrival to acclimatise to English football, so letting them go after a solitary season initially seems bizarre. However, it is not the first time Wenger has swiftly dispensed with a talent. It’s uncharacteristic, but not unprecedented.

Richard Wright : News Photo

Another goalkeeper was effectively pushed out after their inaugural season: Richard Wright. The Englishman was signed from Ipswich in 2001 with the idea that he could be the long-term replacement for David Seaman. However, after punching the ball into his own net during a disastrous display in a 4-2 home defeat to Charlton, he slipped to third-choice and was sold to Everton in the summer.

Some shot-stoppers have lasted even less time. Guillaume Warmuz joined on a short-term contract, but left without making a single competitive appearance.

There have been brief stays at the other end of the pitch too. In 1999, Davor Suker arrived from Real Madrid as the holder of the World Cup Golden Boot. His signature was envisaged as a way to offset the departure of Nicolas Anelka, who had forced through a move from London to Madrid. However, once another new signing - Thierry Henry - began firing, Suker found it increasingly difficult to make an impact upon the first-team.

Park Chu-Young was another forward whose face never fit. Signed in bizarre circumstances in the trolley dash at the end of the summer 2011 window, he was shipped out to Celta Vigo on loan just a year later. It’s safe to say the Korean has was not missed at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal v Shrewsbury Town - Carling Cup Third Round : News Photo

In the aforementioned cases, it appears Wenger was swiftly convinced that - for whatever reason - the players lacked the requisite quality to contribute effectively to the Arsenal cause. Ospina’s scenario is slightly different. He has already proven himself to be a fairly reliable performer at Premier League level. What’s pushed him towards the exit is the surprise availability of a superior alternative. When Ospina was recruited from Nice, Wenger could not have predicted he might be able to snatch Cech from Chelsea within the span of a year.

Ospina is a good goalkeeper, but he can’t hold a candle to Cech. At one stage, Szczesny appeared set to leave the club, but it seems Wenger is not ready to relinquish his grasp on a player he has spent the best part of a decade developing.

Ospina’s fate is symptomatic of Arsenal’s growing stature as a club.

After the signings of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, Cech will shortly become the third world class player to join in successive years.

Progress tends to have its victims — Ospina has simply become surplus to requirements quicker than anyone could have imagined.

 

Read more from James McNicholas, AKA @Gunnerblog