Why I still want Mark Schwarzer to sign for Arsenal

Despite Manuel Almunia’s excellent game against Blackburn on Saturday, I still want Mark Schwarzer to sign from Fulham before the transfer window closes tomorrow.

As an Australian who keenly follows the Premier League, I have seen more of Schwarzer than most people. This is not a way of belittling anybody’s opinion, it is just a simple fact.

Schwarzer may be 37 but he has the right combination of attributes that we need in a goalkeeper right now: good communication skills, consistent positioning, excellent judgment in the air and the psychological temperament to bounce back from the minimal mistakes he makes.

He is a consistent shot-stopper and also has a good record for saving penalties but that is not why Arsene Wenger wants to buy him. He wants him because he has a calm, controlled demeanor that is superior to any other goalkeeper on our books.

I have seen Schwarzer play in virtually every situation you could see a goalkeeper play: crucial and run-of-the-mill Premier League games, FA Cup ties, UEFA Cup games, a UEFA Cup Final, grueling Asian World Cup qualifiers played in extreme heat, two World Cups and perhaps the most tense and important game of them all, Australia’s 2005 World Cup qualifying play-off against Uruguay.

He has made mistakes, more in the early part of his career than the latter, but perhaps the best thing about Schwarzer is that he likes to save his best appearances for the big games.

I’ve already mentioned the 2005 qualifier, where he played a blinder and saved two penalties in the shootout, but there is also his amazing effort in last season’s UEFA Cup semi-final in Hamburg and numerous Premier League Man of the Match performances against the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal.

In my opinion, Schwarzer is the right goalkeeper to complete this Arsenal squad. He will improve our communication skill on the pitch, help us concede fewer goals and will improve the leadership in the squad. He will also give players like Lukasz Fabianski and Wojceich Sczcesny someone to look up to and learn from to improve their own games.

The good news is that Fulham manager Mark Hughes has confirmed that Schwarzer wants to join Arsenal. The better news is that Hughes is making arrangements for that move to become a reality, organising to bring in Shay Given on loan to allow Schwarzer to cap off a fine career by playing for a Champions League club.

Being a Fulham player, there will be no ‘settling in’ time for Schwarzer at Arsenal. He lives in London and has done for several years. If signed he will be ready to play immediately and will be well and truly up for the task.

I think Schwarzer will sign for Arsenal before the window shuts and I will be delighted if he does.

What it means for Almunia, who has been a wonderful and loyal servant to the club and a classy professional during this time, I don’t know. But it will improve Arsenal and at the end of the day that is what must come first.


Have your say on Arsenal’s possible signing of Mark Schwarzer by leaving a comment.



  1. interested why you chose those as highlights – struggling to see anything i wouldnt expect from any decent keeper there.

  2. This is utter nonsense. Schwarzer is (or was )a good keeper, but never really hit the heights. Nobody came in for him when he was in his prime. Shay Given, who may be going to Fulham for Gods sake is, without a doubt, the best keeper in the permier league by an absolute country mile and more, and, despite the Chelsea and Man U hype, was always vastly superior to Cech or Van der Saar, good keepers that they both admittedly are. Indeed, with the abdication of Buffon, and now with only Cesar as a major rival, he if probably the best keeper in the world. Arsenal getting Schwarzer to accomodate Fulhams move for Given, is in one single, simple word, suicide. It is the most absurd transfer story of the year, if not the decade (The only excuse is if City refused so let him go to Arsenal)

  3. I would definitely have Schwarzer in if there’s a chance – and no need for ‘Al’ to go. He’ll have to drop down to No. 2 like Jens did when Al himself first got in. Maybe he’d learn something by watching the big Ozzie. At any rate there’s a good chance that Scwharzer, at his age, could pick up an injury and Al could get back in and really work to make the No.1 spot his again. Whatever – competition is always good.
    The player we have to boot out is Flappa – whatever qualities he may have I really feel he’s shot his bolt at Arsenal and needs to start again elsewhere (preferably Spurs arf! arf!). This will mean we can have Manone as No.3 so both he and the kid with the unpronounceable name can get more game time experience in the reserves etc. Flappy is just taking up space. Go’wan, mate. Take a hint. The doors over there. And get a flippin’ hair cut.

  4. @ wandarah – I chose those highlights because that was a typical performance from him last season. Some really good saves, very solid, and paved the way for Fulham’s excellent UEFA Cup run.

  5. Heheh. I loved the Yank lady’s commentary in those highlights. Brilliant. “Bookerno Fasow”, hahaha. It’s Burkina Faso love.

  6. Is he still the Aussie no 1? If so how amny matches will he miss through travelling to world cup qualifiers. Also the Asian Cup?

  7. @ sleepinggiant – I considered touching on Given in this article, but decided against it. But seeing as though you are making the comparison, I’ll jump in on the debate.

    Given is a good goalkeeper, no question. He’s probably better than any of the goalkeepers currently on our books. But he doesn’t bring the quality that I feel we need: temperament and control of his penalty area. He’s always been suspect in this area of the game – including his organisation of defenders – and even if Schwarzer is not as spectacular he ticks the boxes required to improve our team, in my opinion of course. I think you are vastly overrating Given, although I do agree with your opinion that Julio Cesar is currently the best goalkeeper going around.

    Of course, given I’ve written the piece, I disagree completely that this is the most absurd transfer story of the year (or decade). But I do completely value your comments.

  8. @sleepinggaint – If you knew anything about Shay Given you would know that he does NOT come off of his line, at all. Shay leaves everything to his defenders, he may be worldclass at shot stopping, but the one area where we struggle is from balls into our box, and Shay Given is probably the last keeper in the PL that would help us with that. Theres a reason he was never signed for a top 4 club for all those years and thats because he never comes off of his line. He may look good in the Match of the Day highlights and the odd live game you have seen him in, but he is not the answer to our problems.

    Mark Schwarzer would be a very good signing, he has experience at the World Cup, A few runs in Europe and most importantly knows the Premeriship inside out. He is a huge guy and will help no end on our main weakness than is balls into the box, a much better choice than the 6’0 line hoggin’ Given.

    Shay Given is nothing but a dream of the plastic Arsenal fan who would prefer a ‘name’ over a keeper that would actually improve us at the back.

  9. As a fellow Aussie Gooner, i gotta agree with you, King Mark is pure class, i hate idiots that judge him just cos of the world cup

  10. if we sign schwarzer we can surely win the league coz ver kos squillaci and schwarzer is good enough for me but do u think the transfer may happen im hoping so and wat is schwarzers height anybody

  11. Yes..Arsenal needs an experienced goalkeeper. Aluminia is not bad but he needs improvement. He should welcome Schwarzer because the latter is already 37yr old. He can learn from Schwarzer and resume the No 1 goalkeeper 1-2 yrs later. He should not view Schwarzer as a threat but as a mentor. It will be good for Alumnia. Arsenal’s other backup potential is Vito Mannone.
    With the goalkeeper problem resolved, I think Arsenal will be formidable and make Mourinho eats his words that Arsenal cannot win any trophy. I like Mourinho (cannot spell his name) but I am worried that his track record of winning trophy with different team may not happen at Real Madrid!

  12. Actually, Schwarzer had a pretty decent world cup (for those who watched more than the highlights of Australia’s games). He was very good in the game against Serbia (kept them in the game in the 1st half as the Serbs were battering them) and against Ghana (made some great saves after Kewell was sent off), while against Germany his chief mistake was a flap at a cross that Klose converted with an easy header. That brings me to the issue I have with this transfer. Neither Schwarzer nor Shay Given are the solution to our goalkeeping problems and are marginal improvements on what we have now. Both Schwarzer and Given are pretty much the same type of goalkeepers to Almunia – they are good shotstoppers but are by no means dominant/commanding in their area or especially good on crosses (which is where Almunia and Fabianski fail to meet the standards).

  13. It’s all been said by Bunk and Andrew Webber i.e @SleepingGiant
    One area Arsenal struggle with is aerial bombardments, as u saw with Blackburn.
    Why are we trying to replace Almunia? He’s not far from Given in shot-stopping. Where does Almunia get found out? Set pieces! Full Stop!

    Arsenal have papered over this crack for a long time, even Jens Lehmann could not solve the problem, although his eccentricity firmed us up a bit more that we were last season and currently. Shay Given is an excellent goalkeeper on most days. As has already been said, he is not the best at dominant in the air. If you notice, the new 2 CBs that Arsenal have bought (Koschelni and Squillachi) have one thing in common: “good header of the ball” What about Vermaelen? We all know he loves the aerial duels. So it makes sense that Arsenal want the final piece of the puzzle in Schwarzer who knows the game inside out.

    In experience, he is shoulder to shoulder with Van Der Sar and Brad Friedel and when you are looking at a long hard season in major domestic competitions and Europe, you have to understand why Schwarzer is the best candidate right now. He makes errors too, don’t get me wrong but the question is how much difference can he bring to Arsenal? I think he would make a massive difference.

    Hardly anyone in the Arsenal squad has any confidence in the Waiter and imagine the boost of signing a new goalkeeper would bring to the team? This single acquisition might bring back the glory days to the Arsenal faithful. I say that because if we look properly at where we are leaking goals, it is in the heart of our defence , on the ground and aerially. The heart of our defence IMO is in goal. Get Schwarzer and Squillaci to play alongside Vermaelen and you will see a massive difference we haven’t seen in a very long time.

  14. Well written article and yes we do need to sign Schwarzer to maintain stability in the defensive side of our team…watching the Blackburn game, everytime a long throw-in, free kick or long punt up the field by Paul Robinson, it seems that Almunia was flappable at any moment, but all due credit, he played a blinder and was one of our main contributors to the victory. It would be a dream to sign Given but with Arsene’s reluctance to spend and/or pay his wages, Schwarzer is a realistic option and I am praying hard that come Wednesday morning (Aussie Time), I wake up to my regular breakfast soccer news feed of ‘Schwarzer signs for Arsenal..finally’..this would make our squad 95% complete..we do need another DM…

  15. Jack Woah – Almunia is 33. He is not going to improve any more. He is too old to have a mentor and nor would he accept one. He’s never been quite good enough for Arsenal and Schwarzer would be his direct replacement. Almunia belongs in that tier of clubs below Arsenal’s level.

  16. yes AW needs to bring in Mark before the transfer window closes. almunia can be the back up keeper for us.

  17. I agreewith weber i want Schwarzer to sign because i think he is way better than what we have at the moment, and we don’t need him for long just 2 or 3 year so the younger keepers can gain some experience.
    Given is good but as mentioned not what we want he is a vampire has huge problems with crosses and any one who follows arsenal in last five years would no aerial bombardment has been one of our problems so count given out @ the prices we pay Schwarzer would be great big and imposing experience in england and good on commanding his box.
    Look at MU they were struggling before they signed vandersar and when they did they won every thing in site and he was 35 when they signed him and his now 40 and still very good better that what we have so for people to say Schwarzer is old is a farst keepers are an exception
    I’v been clammering all season for wenger to sign new players the only one that’s missing and is the last of the puzzle is the keeper WE NEED Schwarzer then we can may be think about the title.
    Almunia is doing well now just waiting for the window to close so he can go back to his error prone ways i have no faith in him at all
    Please wenger you no we need a kepper, this should have been sorted out after the world cup this is the most important piece why you left it so long i don’t no we could be out of the race by January so pl sign Schwarzer we need him he is better than almunia and flappy and the younger ones need some one to instill confidence not misery

  18. Apparently, Given has decided to stay at Citeh & fight for his place, which will complicate matters; tp make matters worse, Stockdale (who has been impressive so far for Fulham) got injured last weekend. It ain’t gonna be easy to get the Aussie ace!

  19. Schwarzer is not such a great shot stopper, but he sure knows how to command his area. He deals with corners and crosses well and knows how to organize his defense. If we do sign him, our defenders will rest easy knowing that they have someone they can trust.

    Im sure we will end our trophy drought if we get this guy. Fingers crossed

  20. Am loosing my patients with vanpercy he was injured almost all of last season so arsenal did not benefit then played every game for holland in the world cup then gets a rest that i think he did not deserve because he was injured so long now after two games injured again arsenal is not getting the best of this man every season some problem.
    I hear he seldom trains hard if this is true that would be a reason why he is always injured
    what ever the reason something should be done it appears he must make a choice between holland and arsenal because apparently he can’t play for both holland seem to get more from him than we do so let them pay his wages he ows arsenal for every injury season he has had

  21. We have only twenty-four hours to go before the transfer window closes. Arsene Wenger, please do evry thing possible and legal to sign the goal keeper. We need him. God bless.

  22. I to think Schwarzer is a good option for Arsenal. Experience at the back is needed. I’m not sure if you can convince me that he is a better option than Given….Given is an absolutely dynamo keeper, but the reality is that City will not sell Given to us. Still, I think Schwarzer is an absolute legend – his save against Uruguay to get Oz into the 2006 world cup was one of the sweetest moments in Australian football history.

  23. It has just been reported that Given will stay with Man city…because of this Fulham will not allow Schwarzer join arsenal.

  24. I don’t know how far he is good.But i don’t want him to be like Alumnia in one on one with a striker.You can always see Alumina running towards the striker and begging in the strikers feet, while the striker lofts the ball to the net.New goalkeeper should atleast try to confuse striker rather than giving a clear way to score goal .Also alumnia loses many long range shots and surprises(mainly due to lack of concentration) which every experienced opponent player know.New goalkeeper should possess great reflexes especially like Joe Hart.

  25. I can’t believe were letting Schwarzer slip through our hands, wenger you redeemed yourself last week but this keeper issue after you knew the ones we have can be trusted to tie there shoes right and you play games you bid 4mill now when fulham can’t find a replacement why did you not pay the 4 mill last month but nooo last day you pay it I hope we don’t pay for this after today

  26. I believe Arsene will try to experiment with VitoMannone while alumnia still hangs around for this season.I don’t know what Arsene plans for Fabianski..For me Vito can step up if faith and support given to him.I like to see him more on the goal so that he can get back his confidence.

  27. if AW is ready to pay 4mill now, why on earth he didn’t do it a month back? U can’t blame Fulham cos they can’t get a replacement as it stands…Given opts to stay at Citeh & their #2 Stockdale, who has been impressive so far is injured…..for a club the size of Arsenal, saving 2 mill won’t make a hell of a difference…with all due respect we ain’t Wigan or Wolves. I’m really fed up!!!!

  28. Its reported on the telegraph that Arsenal have now made a 4mil bid for Schwarzer. fulham have since denied this Why is is wenger playing with the success of the club
    he had all of last week to make this bid which would have given fulham the time to find a replacement instead of waiting last Minute . WHY?
    To tell us that he tried, wenger really did not want Schwarzer cause if he did this would have been done already he is keeping faith with what he has

    Am sick of all this reluctance to improve the weak areas in this squad, I have to make a scene because after today were stuck with this team and Arsenal
    really don’t buy in Jan
    So once again it appears that wenger has outsmarted us.
    Lets examine this situation Chamaka came on a free so you can’t count him no money spent, if galas and campbell did stay did you think kolochenly and
    Squillaci would have been bought? no way, am dam sure, they only came because the others left. so in effect one player would have come in on a free.
    This goal keeper issue cause us roughly 11 point last season some may say more i checked and it climaxed last year in porto school boys don’t make those mistakes.
    MaU and Chel have top draw keepers you need a top class keeper to win this league and Almunia is just not top draw. YET! wenger turns a blind eye
    to this I hope we don’t pay for this this season when Almunia starts to do his Sh*t BUT, what can I say Arsenal have gone 6 season with out the
    title and wenger has gotten most fans to accept mediocrity so hence we make excuses that the team is too young every year that’s the excuse.
    When all our problems are easy to see yet the manager has not fixed them, injury prone players bad performances i don’t know.
    Well at least we started well this season though the same can be said of a lot of season but that’s not the problem it’s when people start taking us for
    title contenders that we begin to flop didn’t see the blackburn game but i heard it was very interesting some say we handled it some say we were lucky
    time will tell if that is the case or not a lot of other physical teams in this league.
    Mr wenger as i said some weeks ago America never though they would have had a black president and look they do, you think your untouchable at Arsenal so
    hence you do what you want how you want and forget the fans who mind you spent thousands of dollar every year buying arsenal gear and apparel only for
    you to sell us short every year. Your playing russian roulette every season and SOON maybe even sooner that you think the axe will fall on you, your a
    smart man wenger i’v learned a lot from you by following arseanl Like how to invest in younger players and say there young so no one can demand success
    becaus you have a good excuse
    BUT as tomorrow is sure your time will come Wenger you can bet .

  29. Man City wont sell Shay Givens to its closest rival. Think we should just accept it and move on..

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