Almunia to decide fate
Keeper Manuel Almunia will decide whether he remains at Arsenal, according to manager Arsene Wenger.
By Danny Wright
Last Updated: 17/12/10 9:36am
Arsene Wenger says Manuel Almunia will decide whether he remains at Arsenal, insisting the goalkeeper must fight for his place at the club.
Almunia has been out of the Gunners team since September after injuring his elbow against West Brom when saving a Chris Brunt penalty.
His absence has led to speculation the Spaniard could be on his way out of Emirates Stadium, with Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny now regarded to be ahead of him in the pecking order.
Almunia has been ruled out for another three weeks after sustaining a further injury training with the reserves as Malaga and Atletico Madrid reportedly circle.
Wenger says the rumours will have no bearing on the 33-year-old's future, but maintained that his keeper must accept the competition in his ranks.
"I will listen to Manuel Almunia only," the Arsenal manager said. "We are in a fantastic job, but the core of our job is to fight to be competitive and to fight for your place.
"Nobody can be where we are in such a privileged job and think 'it is a shame we have to compete for our places'. That is the least we can do.
"I am surprised every time a player has to fight for his position that you think straight away he has to leave."
Wenger tried to sign Fulham stopper Mark Schwarzer in the summer and is also said to be keen on Manchester City's Shay Given and Middlesbrough's Jason Steele, according to reports.
But after Szczesny made his top flight debut against Manchester United on Monday, the Frenchman is content with the options at his disposal - meaning Almunia has two strong contestants vying for his slot.
Wenger added: "We want three goalkeepers at the top level and you have seen on Monday night we had Wojciech who made his debut in the Premier League and we had Fabianski on the bench.
"If something happens to one you need three world-class goalkeepers."
Arsenal were overtaken by United after the 1-0 reverse at Old Trafford and return to Premier League duty with a home clash against Stoke.