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Julio Cesar set to sign for Arsenal?

Wednesday 3rd July 2013
With Arsenal set to lose goalkeeper Vito Mannone to Sunderland, Sean Gibson takes a look at one of the players available to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as he looks to strengthen his goal keeping options.

With Arsenal's talented Italian shot stopper Vito Mannone expected to sign for his compatriot Di Canio's Black Cats in the coming days, Arsene Wenger has been keen to add a further goalkeeping addition to his squad. Simon Mignolet of Sunderland had been linked, having now signed for Liverpool, with Pepe Reina and Asmir Begovic of Stoke also featuring on a number of rumour mills. However, if widespread reports are to be believed, it is the man Inter legend Francesco Toldo has described as being capable of ‘incredible things' that Gunners fans can expect to see between the sticks next season. That man is Brazil international Julio Cesar.

With worldwide news outlets suggesting the former Internazionale goalkeeper will join the North London club, betting agencies have made him odds on to join Arsenal. So what can the Gunners faithful expect from the seleção number one?

Many fans will have observed the double Serie A goalkeeper of the year winner with an analytical eye in the recent FIFA Confederations Cup. Gooners will have been encouraged by a number of eye catching displays, in particular his Budweiser Man of the Match performance against Uruguay in the semi-final. His heroics for his national side saw him earn the accolade of the golden glove, along with the prized trophy of the Confederations Cup after a thrilling final against Spain.

In club football, Cesar moved to Queens Park Rangers in the summer of 2012. The 33 year old was given the opportunity to acclimatise to the hasty change of pace in the Premier League and with such a lustrous CV, it came as a surprise to some that a Champions League winner with five consecutive Serie A titles would arrive at Loftus Road. However, when being interviewed by The Sunday People, Cesar claimed that contemplations of his future inspired his decision. “QPR has a project, and I dream about that project coming true. But I came here because I was thinking about my future once I quit football, that's true.”

With claims such as these, will Arsenal be getting a fully committed and devoted goalkeeper? Or perhaps it speaks volumes that he wants to remain in the city of London? Whatever the case, there is one particular image of Julio Cesar which must be viewed before making conclusions on his motives. This image illustrates the apparent nonchalance at which the veteran goalkeeper regards rivalry between Premier League clubs. Earlier this year, and more importantly before the conclusion of the Barclays Premier League season, Cesar was pictured wearing a Chelsea kit at David Luiz's 26th birthday party. Despite this tomfoolery probably being no more than just that, Arsenal fans have all too fresh memories of Brazilians and rival shirts (think Santos. Think Old Trafford.) With the image of Cesar spreading across social networks, a QPR spokesperson claimed that Cesar would be dealt with ‘internally.'

Although these actions may suggest haphazardness, the performances of the Brazil international deserve significant praise. One performance in particular that caught the eye was his stunning display against Arsenal at the Emirates in October 2012. With a number of key saves denying Arsenal until a late winner from Mikel Arteta, former QPR manager Mark Hughes had nothing but positive regards for his number 1, saying: “Over the years I had the pleasure of playing with Peter Schmeichel and Neville Southall and Julio's right up there. Not only in his ability but his mentality in the dressing room.” With comments such as these and previous interest shown by Arsenal in the experienced goalkeeper, it would be no surprise if the club renewed their attention on the 2009 Ballon d'or nominee. 74 international caps for Brazil and an admirably vast array of accolades suggest that Arsenal would be getting their hands on not only an experienced shot stopper, but one of the greatest goalkeepers of a generation.

Sean Gibson
Arsenal fan. All time favourite players include Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Eduardo Da Silva, Ronaldinho and Zinedine Zidane. Will never forget the 25th April 2004. Follow Sean on Twitter: @seangooner

Total articles: 11

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