It looks like Mancini's choice of the admittedly excellent Joe Hart has forced the Irish no. 1 out of Manchester. In theory (though maybe not in fact)this gives Arsene Wenger an alternative should his ridiculously drawn out pursuit of Mark Schwarzer hit a big, bruising brick wall in the shape of Mark Hughes.
But who would be the better option of the two??
For me, it's Schwarzer (although I'd love to see an Irish player at Arsenal). My reasons are probably not the same as Wenger's. Word has it the manager does not want the younger keepers at the club held back- one hopes this does not include Fabianski, because he should really have run out of chances by now- so he wants to sign an experienced stopper with not many years left, and Schwarzer fits the bill.
While Given is the more accomplished shot stopper of the two, there are weak points in his game. You have to wonder why a guy who consistently makes amazing saves and does not fumble many shots has never played for a really big club, especially when United and Arsenal have both suffered goalkeeper problems at times in the last decade.
Surely it is his command of the penalty area, or relative lack thereof, that has held him back.
Does he organise a defence as well as others? Is it just his poor luck that he always seems overexposed behind a porous back line?
Aerially, does his comparatively diminutive stature, in goalkeeper terms, root him to his line too often when crosses rain in? I think so, and that could be a fatal shortcoming for an Arsenal goalkeeper.
That said, he is absolutely streets ahead of what we have. Surely Wenger should at least test the waters, see if City would be willing to sell to a close rival, which is of course questionable in itself.