Should Wojciech Szczesny be Arsenal's number one?

By Avenell Dave

It's been clear for some time that Arsenal have needed a new goalkeeper.

While the other top six sides have someone who wins them points every season, more often than not, Manuel Almunia has a habit of gifting points to the opposition.

The number of world class games he has had, the number of first class saves, has been negligible to say the least.

David Seaman was probably the best goalkeeper in Arsenal's history.

His predecessor John Lukic was pretty solid and Jens Lehmann was mad, bad but could be world class and won us more points than he lost us.

So why has goalkeeper become Arsene Wenger's blind spot?

Almunia has never been good enough. That's why he played lower level football until he was in his late 20s.

When he first arrived, Lukasz Fabianski looked as if he may be a decent player and his record in Poland stands up to most.

But when the big games have come along, be they in the Champions League or in domestic competition, his performances have betrayed his nerves.

Then there's Vito Mannone, who did a great job last season when both Almunia and Fabianski were injured, but he seems to have become the forgotten man despite being arguably the most consistent of our three keepers in the games that he played during the 2009-10 campaign.

And then there's Szczesny.

I've got a friend who watches Brentford every week and says Szczesny is the best goalkeeper he has ever seen in a Bees shirt and his performances earned him rave reviews.

He did well in the Carling Cup last season and has made his full international debut.

But does that mean he should be given or even in contention for the number one shirt at Arsenal?

There have been enough rumours about goalkeepers - Portuguese Eduardo (who we should have signed for the low price Genoa paid); Mark Schwarzer and even Gianluigi Buffon have been mentioned as possible Arsenal signings.

Buffon and Iker Casillas were both given the responsibility of being goalkeeper at two of the biggest clubs in European competition and neither of them has looked back.

If you're good enough, you're old enough, is the adage.

So how will we know if Szczesny is good enough? Do we give him a run of games in the pre-season friendlies and then leave ourselves with precious few options if he isn't playing up to the level we expect?

Do we expose him as the next great thing and risk shattering his confidence too if he makes a high profile mistake before he has a chance to gain the confidence of the crowd or his teammates?

The truth is, only Arsene Wenger knows what he is planning to do - but I'm hoping the Schwarzer stories are well and truly dead.

We need to sharpen up defensively as a team, because the number of goals we've conceded in recent seasons has been at least double what a winning side can realistically let in.

What do you think? Should Szczesny be given the number one jersey? Is he the best keeper at Arsenal right now?