COMMENTARY | According to the Sunderland Echo, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is "unlikely" to sign a new contract with his current club, Sunderland. Mignolet's agent, Nico Vaesen, told the newspaper, "There is no progress. I think it is very unlikely that he will sign a new contract. Simon has obviously come to a point where he wants to step up a level and there is a lot of interest in him." Vaesen also added, "He (Mignolet) is very ambitious and wants to play in the World Cup, in Brazil, next year. It was a good thing that Sunderland stayed up and it is a fantastic club where he has had three great years."
The Belgian goalkeeper made all 38 starts for Sunderland in the Barclay's Premier League during the 2012-2013 season, keeping 11 clean sheets in these 38 matches (tied for fifth most in the league). Mignolet's strong play has attracted interest from both Arsenal and Liverpool. The 25 year old arrived to Sunderland in 2010 from his childhood club, Sint-Truiden. It has been reported that Mignolet cost Sunderland only £2 million.
It would appear that Sunderland would receive a healthy profit if they were to sell Mignolet this summer. With the goalkeeper still having two years left on his current deal, Sunderland would most likely receive more money for Mignolet if they were to sell him this summer, rather than next year. Sunderland would obviously prefer to hold on to the reigning North East Football Writers' Association Player of the Year; however, if Mignolet has conveyed that he does not intend to sign a new contract with the club, it might be time to cash in on the Belgian international.
Liverpool's Pepe Reina could very well be moving on to another club this summer. This void could entice Mignolet to go to Liverpool and automatically be installed as their number one goalkeeper. In Arsenal's case, they still have 23 year old Wojciech Szczęsny, and Mignolet would have to compete with the Polish international for the number one spot. Although the Belgian would have competition with Szczęsny at Arsenal, the north London club would offer Mignolet something that Liverpool can't; Champions League soccer.
While some fans have lost faith in Szczęsny, he did seem to benefit from the competition Arsène Wenger installed with him and fellow countryman, Łukasz Fabiański. After Szczęsny was benched in March for poor play, he came back and made the final six starts for Arsenal in April and May. In the six games, Szczęsny recorded four clean sheets and did not lose a match.
Szczęsny is still relatively young, and it would appear that he would benefit from the competition if Mignolet were to make the switch to Arsenal. Mignolet would be a great signing for the Gunners, and having two solid goalkeepers at the club would turn a weakness for the club over the last few years into a strength.
Christopher Moore has been following Arsenal Football Club for over 10 years.
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