The Telegraph this morning confirmed previous reports that Arsenal is discussing a transfer of Cagliari keeper Federico Marchetti for around $8.5 million. Marchetti has made it clear that he is seeking a transfer from the Serie A club and Arsenal would seemingly be a good fit. Most Serie A clubs have settled on their starting keeper for the year and Arsenal is desperately seeking help in goal after poor performances last season from starter Manuel Almunia and backup Lukasz Fabianski (the need for a keeper has been very well documented by Arsenal fans).
Marchetti gained a reputation for himself this summer when he filled in for an injured Gigi Buffon during the World Cup. The keeper’s performance was less than stellar, allowing four goals in two games, but not embarassing. As evidenced by his attention on the transfer market, his reputation as a good keeper is intact and I expect him to remain on the Azzurri squad, probably still as the primary backup.
If Marchetti does move to North London, he would be the second potential future Italian national team keeper on the squad. Arsenal already has on its roster Vito Manone, the third-string keeper last season who has seen some action this preseason as the Gunners look to shakeout their keeper rotation. The young Manone had a rocky start last year, conceding two goals in his first start against Standard Liege in the UEFA Champions League. After that start, however, he was solid, even being named Man of the Match after his clean sheet at Fulham in September. Manone has also made a name for himself at the international level; he currently is the starting keeper for the Italian U21 squad and has conceded no goals in three international appearances.
It is not a given however that either has a definite future with either Arsenal or the Azzurri. While Marchetti would be the presumed starter for Arsenal if he is signed, he may be a seat-holder for Arsenal’s other young keeper, Wojciech Szczesny. The Polish keeper is widely seen as the future for Arsenal, and his ascendance may eventually lead him to bypassing Manone and surpassing Marchetti as soon as next season.
On the national team, Marchetti has to prove himself to new manager Cesare Prandelli as a competant backup for Buffon. Assuming he stays healthy, Buffon will likely be starting keeper through the 2014 World Cup and Marchetti will battle for the #2. His competition would be Palermo’s Salvatore Sirigu, the former U21 starter and possibly Manone. Thus it is not a guarantee that either will be the starter after 2014.
However, if you can watch Arsenal play this year and the Marchetti transfer goes through, it may be worthwhile to catch a few matches to see the possible replacement for Gigi Buffon after 2014.