Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is keen to make Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Jens Lehmann his first summer signing but has threatened to pull out of the transfer unless it is completed quickly.
The Gunners are already in talks with the 33-year-old German international but are yet to agree a fee with his club - with Dortmund manager Matthias Sammer insisting that £1.5million is a very low price for his world class keeper.
'We are hopeful that the deal will work out, but nothing is perfect yet,' Wenger warned. 'There is not much time left and if the deal is not done in the next few days we will be forced to look elsewhere.' [+]
While, as an Arsenal supporter, I will be glad when the club finally sign somebody this summer, I can't help but wonder why it has taken so long to find a new keeper.
The obvious replacement is staring the club in the face - Paul Robinson.
Whether it is true that Wenger gave him a trial and wasn't impressed, I don't know or really care. For £3m, he is the best option without question. If it didn't work out, they could sell him on for more next summer!
I think there is method to Arsene Wenger's madness. He obviously did not go for Paul Robinson because he already has a young talented keeper in Stuart Taylor. Thus, he went for Lehmann, who might be 33, but a German international and a very good keeper in his own right.
My bet is Lehmann will hold fort for one year, sharing some duties with Taylor, giving the young lad some more experience at this level and come the start of the 2004-2005 season, Taylor will take over fulltime.
Mr Wenger do you hear Fergie saying 'young players we have coming through'? Then you go out and buy a 33-year-old goalkeeper.
Bring some of your young talent in - some have already proved they can play. You have some terrific experienced guys to bring them along.
Wake up Sir!
Many Arsenal fans, including myself, have criticised Wenger for the lack of chances allowed to players coming up from the youth system. However, in the case of a keeper experience is crucial.
It seems that many fans forget that a keeper is much more than a shot blocker, he must work to organize the back line under pressure.
I do believe that in time Robinson will become England's number 1, as he is undoubtedly one of the best pure shot blockers and a good student of the game, but often lacks the confidence and experience to organize the back line. This will come with experience.
In this case Wenger's right, and it is time for experience over youth.
Byron, Portland, USA
Ruud Van Nistelrooy is truly a fine striker in the Premier League, but one of the 'bargains of the century' at £18.5million pounds?
Please, the tell the correspondent to take off his red and white blinkers. Or wait until United, with Ruud, win the European Champions League at least once.
Jeremy Walker, Tokyo
The emphatic win over Celtic proves that others will now start to shine now in the Manchester United camp following the departure of Beckham. A debut strike from Bellion is very impressive, a sign of better things to come.
I still think that although Man United are a team that one loves to hate, one cannot deny that their finishing is very impressive. I still think that Ronaldhino with Man United could have been a Brazilian to make history in the English League.
I think your report on this game is pretty one sided. If you actually watched the game and knew a bit about Celtic's team selection, mainly the defence, you would see that indeed they dominated the entire game but for four Manchester United breakaways which led to goals.
You will see the proper Celtic when the competitive action starts for good in the Champions League.
There is a lot of disappointment that Real Madrid have cancelled their trip to Malaysia, form Malaysian's and neighbours such as Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.
Real Madrid should be far more aware of the financial crisis that has happened in South East Asia and reduced their appearance fee in accordance.
Real could not only have increased their supporter base in SEA (especially following the acquisition of David Beckham) and could increase their merchandise sales in the future.
In line with the withdrawal of Real Madrid from their Malaysia visit, I was reading with interest the prices for an average ticket for the Real Madrid match in China, which was said to be about 2,500 yuan or £150 approx.
In Indian rupees at the current exchange rate that would be close to Rs.12,000 - which is a very decent monthly salary for many in India.
Although I myself am a big fan of Real Madrid, what on earth do these guys think when commanding such ridiculous prices? I don't think they understand how much people have to work hard to earn a decent living.
Its a shame to see soccer converted this way into a big marketing circus. And all this just for some exhibition friendlies where most of the players would seldom put in a 100% effort into the games!
Nester D'Costa, Goa, India
I suggest that Real Madrid should be banned from Asia following their unrealistic demands of very high appearance fees.
When $ fees are converted into local currency they are often far beyond the means of the average soccer fan - such as those in Asia.
Real Madrid - GO HOME, and never come to Asia again!
Kevin Yee, disgusted fan
What a great professional Nigel Winterburn was. I first saw him playing for Wimbledon in 1987 and thought then that a good club would buy him soon.
Thankfully, Arsenal (the club I support) did and the rest is history. Along with Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Steve Bould & latterly, Martin Keown, his name will go down in folklore as part of that great back-four!
Along with Adams, Bould and Dixon, Nigel is the last piece of the brilliant puzzle that was the Arsenal back four. He was very much an integral part of the championship sides and will be sorely missed from the Premiership.
I'd have to agree with him on that famous League victory back in 1989 over Liverpool. One of the best! Best of luck Nigel!
Tim, Melbourne, Australia