Almunia talks Szczesny, Lehmann and leaving


Having been demoted from first choice goalkeeper to number three in the blink of an eye, Manuel Almunia could easily have had a moan about his changed circumstances while on the books at Arsenal.

Instead, he kept his counsel, dabbled in a loan move to West Ham, saw out his contract and moved across the road to Watford in a deal devoid of fanfare and bitterness.He may not have been to everybody’s taste between the sticks, but he was at least professional.

Having been silent for so long it’s therefore interesting to hear what he has to say about his time at Arsenal and how he assesses the men who pushed past him in Arsene Wenger’s pecking order.

“It’s good to have a No 1 goalkeeper with the support of the coach, but at the same time the second choice has to be ready and has to be good,” he told The Times (Paywalled). 

“All three have experience and ability so Arsenal should be happy. They’re all very similar. Szczesny is like me; tall, authoritative and good with his feet. (Arseblog News did chuckle a little at this point) Lukasz and Vito are more explosive and make more spectacular saves.”

While the Pole inherited the number one shirt from Almunia this summer, the elder statesman hinted that his successor, while a very good goalkeeper, still had some maturing to do off the pitch.

“Wojciech is a good goalkeeper too, but he needs to be more mature. Not on the pitch, where he’s good, but he needs to be more quiet and settled off the pitch. He should think twice before doing certain things. When you’re young you do things without thinking.”

Having been on the receiving end of Jens Lehmann’s teutonic temper on the training ground for six years, Almunia confirmed that he and the big German had finally buried the hatchet after a long-running feud.

“As everyone knows we had a difficult relationship for years, but Jens is a lovely person off the pitch.

“He didn’t hate me, but Jens is the kind of person who, when someone tries to take his place, he fights and fights and fights to recover it. He’s very competitive and I just got in the way.

“In his last season at Arsenal there was a team dinner for us all to say goodbye. Jens and me didn’t speak — and I mean never — but he came to me with his wife and showed me a totally different face. I thought, ‘oh my God, who is this? This is not Jens!’ We talked about life, football, Spain, Germany, everything.”

Finally, in a candid statement which might rile a few, the Spaniard also made no bones about the fact he would have left the Emirates earlier were it not for the lucrative terms of his contract.

“I went from being No 1 to No 3 almost overnight, but I tried not to think about it. Maybe I should have left one year earlier, but I had a contract that was too good to refuse.”



  1. ” I went from being No 1 to No 3 almost
    overnight, but I tried not to think about it.”.

    Just processed this and I loled. Poor almunia.

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  2. Can’t see who it would rile….if you had a contract with your employer, and you got demoted, but still retained your wage…wouldn’t you at least ride it out if no better offer came in? Of course you would.

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    • It doesn’t rile me neither.
      But at the same time neither does offering Theo £75k a week or whatever he wants instead of losing him on a free, but that’s just me!

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    • Yeah, deciding factor to STAY in AFC.
      Not the deciding factor to go from AFC.
      If he were any goof and he wqnted away for ghe latter, we would surely have bad feeling toward him.

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    • He wasn’t going to get any better money from anywhere else, and for some people the money they’re making can be more important than their playing time, ESPECIALLY if you’re nearing RETIREMENT.

      Young, 20-somethings wouldn’t mind playing for lower wages because they still have apx. 10 years left in their playing career. At 30 you’ll be lucky to have an upgraded wage, unless you’re people like Pirlo, Buffon and Xavi.

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  3. After messi lobbing him in the champions league, almunia should have followed him as he headed for the celebration and kicked him in the face. Then he probably would have been my legend.

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  4. Can’t knock him for sitting there pocketing the cash. After all, he didn’t decide how much he was gonna pay himself.

    I’d do likewise, but then again I am what’s known as a lazy twat.

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  5. I think you can’t ask the players to be honest and then be angry when they are, so I applaud Almunia for his honesty. It’s a welcome contrast to all the little boys and people who prefer the atmosphere at the etihad

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  6. I can’t remember totally, but I believe it was Adebayor or Drogba, one of those two I am almost certain didn’t lie when asked about money, the man replied
    “as African players, we work our socks off to get to the top, we want to make as much money as possible because we don’t have it growing up, this is a very short career so I will go wherever the money is highest for me so that my extended family and I will live like kings and I can help my people, we Africans are all like this”
    Now, the quotation marks do not imply original quote but that is what the gist of his reply was, and I just thought at the time and still do, Fair Play to them (football players in general, not just Africans), make what they can for as long as they can. because if it weren’t for the inflated wages then boards would be pocketing extra monies, gate prices will still go up and whatever else Baz Luhrmann said about Sunscreen

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  7. I never laughed as hard whilst reading an Arseblog News article before. Even the Onion doesn’t make me laugh out loud in real life.


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  8. I remember Dara O Brain on an Arsecast a couple of years ago talk about Almunia whilst he was in poor form. Dara said that Almunia was so slow to get down to the ground to stop shots, it was as though he was made from some light metal, or Almunite.

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  9. You can’t blame the guy, he was making good money and he knew he was really famous for being shit and would never get that kind of money again in his life.
    He should never have been at the club for as long as he was though, Sylvestre and Squillachi are another couple of recent Wenger mind farts that nobody can explain.
    We all know the wage structure needs to change and now we have an ex player confirming what we all suspected.

    Best of luck Almunia, he ate a lot of shit from the fans over the years, he probably deserves every penny he got.

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  10. The two worlds best have all enjoyed almunias time on arsenals goal.

    Ronaldo at united with his freekicks-Almunia with half an eye on most of them.
    Messi- seeing almunia on goal just motivated him to score abit more.
    He’ll retire knowing he’s mixed it up with the best. Almunia. You silver.

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  11. Also heard frimmers nearly engaged wilshere in a tackle apparently coz of the no.10 jersey he had on. Also wilshere’s rusty hair didn’t help matters. Relax frimmers, rvp cunt is gone. He wears 20 now and is in some shit city with other cunts. Table cloth jersey?, yes frimmers him. Now wait…..just wait.

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  12. Some Arsenal fans really annoy me. Credit where credits due, he was the motm against united in the semi of CL at Old Trafford. He seemed a gentleman throughout and even through all the shit, he never caused friction. Sadly he just wasn’t good enough, but at least he tried and most importantly he wore the badge with pride. Thank you Almunia.

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    • Yeah sure he may of done fine against Utd which we lost home and away, but he also slipped up to stop us winning our first CL in 2006 vs Barcelona. How can you concede twice in the final 10 minutes when you can do fine the rest of the match?

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  13. i love his honesty about money,nt those having problems with playing position and directions of the clubs..little boys

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