Football: Arsenal's Szczesny ready to challenge new signing Cech, commits future to the club

New Arsenal signing Petr Cech (left) and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny (right) train with the rest of team at the National Stadium during an open training session on July 14, 2015.
New Arsenal signing Petr Cech (left) and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny (right) train with the rest of team at the National Stadium during an open training session on July 14, 2015. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Last season, Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was dropped from the starting line-up in favour of Colombian David Ospina following a dismal performance in the 0-2 defeat against Southampton.

With the Gunners signing former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech for £10 million (S$21 million), Szczesny could be third-choice by the time the new season gets underway next month.

But the Poland international is unfazed by the challenge of winning back the No. 1 spot, and, instead of jumping ship, signalled his intention to go toe-to-toe with Cech - and even finish his career at the North London club.

At the launch Puma's new away kit for Arsenal at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, the 25-year-old said: "I don't need an indication (on who's No. 1). I fight for my place no matter what.

"Petr is a fantastic goalkeeper, one of the best in the Premier League if you ask me. That's a massive challenge for me, but I'd love to challenge him, learn from him, and I'm sure he will help me become a better goalkeeper as well."

On his Arsenal future, he said: "Playing for this club is a dream come true for me. I can't imagine playing anywhere else. I've good times, difficult times... (but) my future is always here.

"I moved to London when I was a 16-year-old kid for a reason. I didn't sign for a club that I wanted to play for three to four years and then move on. I know a lot of people at this club, not just the first team but academy level and reserves and so on.

"I have a connection with them and if I can have one wish, I want to stay here for the rest of my career."

Going into the new season, Szczesny said he is confident the club can build on last season's third place finish and fight for the title from the off.

He said: "The main goal is always to be the (league) champions, and we are ready. Whether the boss makes any signings or not, it's his decision, (but) I'm positive with the group of players we have, the experience we now have, the quality, we're ready to challenge for the Premier League."

siangyee@sph.com.sg