Five new deals in less than a year-assessing Arsenal’s goalkeeping hierarchy

Petr Cech is firmly established as Arsenal’s first choice goalkeeper, but at present it is extremely difficult to predict how game time will be distributed between the club’s shot stoppers next season beyond the Czech Republic international.

Arsenal appear determined to keep hold of their young goalkeepers, with Matt Macey, Deyan Iliev, Ryan Huddart, Hugo Keto and Joao Virginia having all signed new contracts within the past year.

With the futures of senior custodians David Ospina and Wojciech Szczesny uncertain, there could be a chance for some of the aforementioned youngsters to edge closer to the senior set-up in the near future, but how will Arsenal’s goalkeepers be deployed next season?


As alluded to, Cech will remain first choice, although it is questionable whether Ospina or Szczesny (who is currently on loan at Roma) will want to stay at Arsenal as there is seemingly no way that they will be able to surpass the Czech Republic international.


It seems likely that Arsenal’s second choice goalkeeper at first-team level next season will either be Ospina, Szczesny, or, in the scenario that both depart, a new signing, with the back-up shot-stopper being used in cup competitions.


Emiliano Martinez, who is currently on loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers, could return as third choice and may perhaps be sent out on temporary transfer again later in the campaign.


From there, matters get rather complicated. Matt Macey, perhaps a little surprisingly, signed a new deal yesterday, but from next season the 21-year-old will be classed as a senior player, meaning he would have to take up a place in the club’s Premier League and Champions League squads if he remains with the club.

It is possible, therefore, that Macey could go on loan for at least part of next campaign to add to the experience he gained during a spell with Accrington Stanley last season.


Iliev, meanwhile, signed a three year deal in 2015 but hasn’t featured at all this season because of injury. The Macedonian will hope to be fully fit for next season and will have designs on establishing himself as the club’s first choice goalkeeper at U21 level, although he could also go on loan as the season progresses.

Screen shot 2016-03-23 at 21.49.47

Huddart signed a new deal recently and has trained with the first-team squad on several occasions this season. The youngster will want to feature prominently for the U21s next season. In addition there is a possibility that Huddart could feature in the UEFA Youth League as an overage player.

Screen shot 2016-02-15 at 22.10.48

Finnish youth international Keto has been hugely impressive of late, particularly in the club’s FA Youth Cup run. He will, however, be ineligible to feature in that competition next season and will be seeking to break into the U21 side at some point. Keto may share Youth League duties with Huddart, while he will still be eligible to play in U18 league fixtures due to the rule relating to overage goalkeepers.

Screen shot 2016-02-29 at 13.28.46

Virginia, a Portuguese youngster, should be the first choice for the U18s in the league next season and will also have a prominent part to play in the FA Youth Cup. He will be backed up in both competitions by Hale End prospect Daniel Barden, who will be looking to earn a scholarship deal for the following campaign.

In summary, here’s a breakdown of how Arsenal’s goalkeeping situation could look next season.

First-team: Cech, Ospina/Szczesny/new signing, Martinez

Loan: Macey, Iliev (part of season)

U21s: Iliev, Huddart, Keto

U19s: Huddart, Keto, Virginia

U18s: Keto, Virginia, Barden

FA Youth Cup: Virginia, Barden.



  1. I don’t think there will be a new keeper signing unless 1 or 2 are sold

    Ospina, Szczesney or Martinez could be sold, but I think all are good back up to Cech.

    The good thing about szczesney, martinez and macey that whilst all are over 21 for next season all are also homegrown.

    But the fact is we will have 5 keepers classed as over 21 and have proved that this year 2 is probably enough. So I expect 3 to go out on loan whilst Huddart and Iliev will combine u21 duty with taking over from Macey as 3rd choice keeper, thus giving us an extra place for an outfield player.

  2. We are going to be in a quite good position this summer with regards to squad space. Once all the loaders return and Macey becomes classed as a senior, that will bring the squad to 29.

    3 of those, arteta,flamini and rosicky look sure to depart, bringing us down to 26.

    5 of the 26 are keepers at maximum we will keep 3 so already the squad will be down to 24 possibly 23 if 3 keepers go.

    Then there are players that look set to depart, I am certain Debuchy and Sanogo fall into that category. Bringing us down to 21/22.

    Also I am not certain of this, but i think Campbell and Wellington are out of contract? At most like Mertesacker they will have just 1 year left. Those 3 and Gibbs could find that if a decent offer comes in they could be be given the nod to leave. I wouldn’t be surprised either, if good offers came in for the ox, walcott and giroud they might be allowed to leave once replacements are found.

    Now I am not suggesting for 1 minute 15 players will leave, I am just putting out there the names of the weaker senior players within the squad.

    I am certain that if all are fit and happy this is wengers main core of seniors

    Jenkinson Gabriel Koscielny Monreal
    Coquelin Cazorla
    Ramsey Ozil Alexis
    Ospina, Wilshire, Elneny

    Of the 9 players born 95/96 i expect that kamala will be released. Of the remaining 8 I expect none of them will be used in the u21s. bellerin (obviously) chambers, iwobi and toral for me have all done enough to be part of the first team squad, bringing it up to 18. however iliev hayden, akpom and gnabry really still have work to do between now and August to cement a place.

    At the moment, the only player born 97 onwards that I see as possibly being involved in the first team is strangely Huddart, as 3rd choice keeper, but that all depends on what happens with all those ahead of him. If the manager decides to keep 3 senior keepers then I expect Iliev to go on loan, making Huddart no.1 keeper for the u21s.

  3. For sure Cech remains our No. 1. Next season will see his backup more as an alternate, given the chance for more games. So this guy must be well experienced too. Won’t be surprised if Ospina stays with Szecezny out on loan again.

    Martinez should then be loaned to a strong team, either in the Premier League, or a strong contending Champuonship team.

    The third choice for our PL squad should be the keeper from the U21s. Huddart? Macey and Iliev could well see loan spells next season.

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