Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Big Mouth Ready to Strike Again

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Big Mouth Ready to Strike Again

Article excerpt


ARSENAL are on the verge of replacing Safe Hands with Big Mouth.

Borussia Dortmund's Jens Lehmann has been lined up to succeed goalkeeper David Seaman at Highbury and the German international is known for speaking his mind.

Although the clubs are thought to be more than [pounds sterling]1million apart on their valuation - with the German club wanting [pounds sterling]2.5m - the 33-year-old has agreed personal terms on a three-year contract worth [pounds sterling]40,000 a week and the deal could be done by the weekend.

His arrival would end manager Arsene Wenger's summer-long search for a high-calibre new stopper, but it is unlikely to have a calming effect on the Arsenal dressing-room.

His ability to dominate his penalty area and make mad dashes up the other end trigger comparisons with Peter Schmeichel, only Lehmann is wilder and without the red nose. But his career is littered with moments of madness and runins with team-mates. Although quiet off the pitch, his attitude is frequently confrontational.

Lehmann said: "If I feel like I am being treated unfairly, I will insist on my opinion. I am not an apple polisher who says that things are not that bad in order to make everyone calm down."

The goalkeeper is available partly because Dortmund, like Arsenal, have a lack of resources after committing to [pounds sterling]35m worth of stadium improvements, but also thanks to his relationship with understudy Roman Weidenfeller.

Sources in Germany say the pair cannot and will not work together. They both believe they should be first choice and have not been shy in stating their cases. Lehmann, a veteran compared to his highly rated 21-yearold rival, has only one year left on his contract and has been put up for sale before he gets a chance to leave for free. The Arsenal target has also lost out on the international stage and not surprisingly he fell out with his competitor then, too. …

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