Brazil number one Julio Cesar has moved on loan to Toronto FC from QPR in a move which has baffled many football fans the world over.
Although he has struggled to find first team football at QPR since their relegation to the Championship, he is still a regular for Brazil and was named in their squad to face South Africa next month: he expects to be first choice at the World Cup.
The former Inter player will be joined by former Spurs striker Jermaine Defoe in what would seem to be revolutionary times at Toronto and in the MLS in general.
“Adding a player of Cesar’s experience and ability strengthens our club in the short and long term,” said Toronto general manager Tim Bezbatchenko.
Arsenal were linked with Cesar in the summer, but chose to bring in Emiliano Viviano on loan instead. The Italian hasn’t featured for the Arsenal first team yet, with Fabianski playing as Wojciech Szczesny’s backup. However, Lukasz Fabianski has announced that he will leave Arsenal when his contract with Arsenal finishes in the summer.
In November, Arsenal were allegedly put on alert as Julio Cesar is likely to be released on a free in the summer. Supposedly, Arsenal’s £2 Million move for the Brazilian collapsed due to his wages, but without a transfer fee that would no longer become an issue.
Whilst this move has slipped under the radar somewhat compared to what you might expect, with Fabianski leaving the club, the 34 year old would seem a perfect replacement for the Pole as a backup to Szczesny who can keep the pressure on Arsenal’s number one and come up big when needed. Not many Arsenal fans have discussed this subject but I am one of a few who are irked by not seizing the opportunity to sign him. There is still a chance that Wenger will move for him in the summer, but with his age to take into consideration it would be very unlike Arsene Wenger for him to move to Arsenal.
Arsenal need a new backup to Szczesny. It is unlikely that Viviano will ever feature for Arsenal, which is a good sign, because it means that Arsenal’s goalkeeper situation is one which they do not need to worry about. However, now that Fabianksi no longer in the picture after this season it means that only Szczesny remains. Should he never get injured or suspended that would theoretically be fine.
However, once a player has no competition for his position it is only natural that complacency will kick in. Before Arsenal’s 2-0 win in the Allianz Arena, Szczesny was at an all-time low in his Arsenal career: he had put in a string of poor, overconfident performances; his own father accused Wenger of ruining his son’s career due to overplaying him; Arsenal looked unlikely to qualify for the Champions League once again.
Therefore Arsene Wenger made the surprise move to start Fabianski against the unstoppable Bayern Munich.
However, Arsenal stopped the rot and Bayern’s dominance with a scintillating display that saw them win 2-0 and turn their season around. After that, once Szczesny got back in the squad he did everything in his power to prove himself once again.
Should Arsenal not bring in at least one more goalkeeper (it would make sense to have a third) Szczesny will lull himself into a false sense of security once again and we will have a repeat of that situation.
Julio Cesar would provide a real challenge for Szczesny. He is the Brazil number one and should he sign, play in the first team and recuperate his previous glories it would surely help the Pole find another gear.
There is the concern of his age, but is often good for a goalkeeper to keep having changes made behind him to keep having him refocus on his goals. Should he have a “revolving door” effect behind him then every few years he would have to up his game to assure that he would stay as number one.
And there is the simple matter of Cesar’s talent. With all due respect to Toronto FC, the main starter in any position for the Brazil national team should be playing at the very top level. Even if Cesar were to struggle for playing time at Arsenal, his time would be much better spent there battling with Szczesny than playing on autopilot in the MLS.
With Cesar seemingly available in the summer, I would fully expect Arsenal to go after him in the summer and take advantage of the lack of a transfer fee and give Szczesny yet another kick into place that would help him achieve the legendary status he so craves at Arsenal.
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