Wojciech Szczesny has always reiterated his love for Arsenal football club, despite never being trusted for long spells in between the sticks.
The Polish international shotstopper is currently plying his trade for European heavyweights Juventus, after displacing club legend Gigi Buffon who initially left for Paris Saint-Germain, only to return to play as deputy to Szczesny.
Wojciech broke into the first-team at Arsenal with Manuel Almunia struggling to hold onto his first-choice role in the 2010-11 campaign, before having to share that role with current West Ham keeper Lukasz Fabianski, another decent shotstopper in his own right.
Following the arrival of Petr Cech from Chelsea in the summer of 2015, Szczesny took up the opportunity to join Roma on a two-year loan deal, before catching the eye of Juventus, who saw him as the man to take up the helm from Buffon once his reign at the top began to slide.
The 30 year-old is very much enjoying his time in Italy, getting the plaudits he deserves for his impressive consistency, but as he talks about his love for Arsenal you have to ask yourself just why our club failed to utilise his talents.
“More than anything, I miss the boys,” Szczesny said. “We had a fantastic group of players. We were young, we had a lot of energy, we had a lot of banter and we had some good and bad moments together, but we really united as a group. It was a great joy to be with them every day.
“I miss them. I miss playing at the Emirates. I think that was something special for me, the quality of the pitch, the fans, the big nights in a north London derby.
“The emotions were quite different because whatever you do in your career, and some of us have gone on to make great things and have made a great career whereas some have maybe made a step back, there’s nothing like playing for the club that you love. The emotion of that is something special.
“That’s why I was always jealous and why my dream was always to follow the Gerrards and the Scholes, the Tottis of this world. I think it’s just beautiful that you can play your whole career for one club and just appreciate that emotion of going out to the pitch and having that extra little bit. Your heart rate is a little bit higher because you know it means that little bit more to you than to the others. That was just really beautiful.
“You go on and make a big career. You do your best, you’re professional, but that’s always missing and always will be. That’s fine I think. The pain of not being able to live that emotion again is also something that can push me through it and really make the best career that I can for myself.”
We had a player who not only had the talent to succeed at the top level, but had the desire to stay at our club for his entire career.
I’ve no complainst about Bernd Leno between the sticks, but Szczesny is currently a cut above in my opinion, and it is frustrating knowing a player of that calibre is playing elsewhere when he has love for our club.
At 30 years-of-age Szczesny has years left in his career, and he may well be able to return in the future, especially with Arsenal still very much in his thoughts.
Should Arsenal have never signed Cech? Was Szczesny under-rated at our club? Could he return in the future?