Arsenal Could Have the Next Azzurri #1 Keeper

by Robert on July 28, 2010 · 5 comments

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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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 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.


2 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.


3 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.


4 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?


5 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.


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