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Arsenal Could Have the Next Azzurri #1 Keeper

June 24, 2010 - Johannesburg, Guateng, South Africa - 24 JUN 2010: Federico Marchetti (ITA)(12) goes up for a ball in his box. The Slovakia National Team led the Italy National Team 1-0 at half time at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa in a 2010 FIFA World Cup Group F match.

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.

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Click to comment


  1. Rami S.

    August 2, 2010 at 1:27 am

    Hi Robert,

    What are your thoughts on Mimmo Di Carlo who is only 20 years old and played around 75 minutes against Espanyol & was involved in the penalty-shootout saving one spot-kick?

    • Rami S.

      August 2, 2010 at 1:28 am

      I meant to say Vincenzo Fiorillo! Di Carlo is Samp’s coach and I mistakenly put his name instead of the GK.

  2. Rami S.

    July 28, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Hello Robert,

    Reading your article made me ponder the future of the Azzurri number one as any injuries to Buffon will basically mean no one on the same level or even close is available.

    I was not impressed by Marchetti, particularly against Slovakia. He is not commanding, he looked nervous (which is understandable) but he did not make a single save.

    Marchetti who will be 28 years old in February cannot be considered a future Azzurri number one unless Buffon retires now and there is no other option.

    I feel Marchetti will be like Amelia, De Sanctis and others who had to settle for a bench role while Buffon is number 1.

    Do you know of other GKs you think can rise to the occasion and challenge Buffon? I know S. Sirigu could be one but cannot think of other names. The rest are all either too old or veterans nearing retirement.

    • Robert

      July 29, 2010 at 7:58 am

      If Buffon pulls up injured in Euro 2012 or qualifying over the next few years, you have to go with Marchetti in goal. He is not close to being a Buffon, but there is no Italian keeper who is. But I think Marchetti is good enough to help you win a Euro/WC if he has talent around him. Basically, if Italy can keep Buffon healthy and at the top of his game through 2014, which I think is very doable, then the Azzurri should be ok in goal.

      I am an Arsenal fan so I saw Manone play a little last season, including the Fulham match and he is legit. I think he could be the starting keeper now; he would not be Petr Cech level but more adequate than Almunia/Fabianski and still have some room to grow. I think the WC 2018 keeper spot is between him and Sirigu, acknowledging that eight years is a long long time for things to shake out.

      • Rami S.

        July 29, 2010 at 6:04 pm

        We are in agreement Buffon is the Azzurri short-term future and beyond if he’s healthy. I know Buffon had the surgery in mind because he wants to prolong his career and ease the pain in his back. I hope he recovers 100%>

        I’ve seen Manone play once and he seemed solid but I cannot base my opinion off of one match. I am actually interested to see if he can become a starter or perhaps push for more playing time with Arsenal. Interestingly, you just reminded me (speaking of the Gunners) of an FA Cup match a few years ago when Arsenal were an absolute delight to watch. I recall they passed the ball around at around 30 times before the opposition got a touch! I am not an Arsenal supporter or even close to that but I appreciate positive and entertaining football (Arsenal a few years ago, Barcelona last couple of years and Milan when they still had Kaka and Pirlo as well as Seedorf were younger so around 2006 & 2007).

        I am interested in seeing more of Sirigu. One thing about GKs and particularly Italians in goal, they tend to play for a prolonged time and there are plenty of examples such as Peruzzi & Pagliuca before and now Abbiati, Toldo (retired this year), Buffon, Storari and others.

        I still have my doubts about Marchetti. Some players just do not rise to the occasion and I might be wrong here but I feel Marchetti will not shine on the big stage (just as in South Africa 2010) or Euro 2012. I am hoping Buffon will not suffer any setbacks and will be back early 2011.

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