Written By Justin on Friday, August 27, 2010 | 9:19:00 PM
The summer transfer window closes on August 31, and speculation still hangs over the interlinked futures of Manuel Almunia, Mark Schwarzer, Shay Given, and David Stockdale.
Two of the above - Almunia and Stockdale - are currently holding down the number one shirts at their clubs, but the question is, for how long? Schwarzer is wanted by Arsenal, which would mean Almunia losing his spot and Stockdale keeping his; unless the rumors of Given to Fulham turn out to be true. But that deal seems contingent on the first one, Arsenal stumping enough cash to prise Schwarzer away from Fulham. Mark Hughes is talking tough and Arsene Wenger has been typically noncommittal, continuing to insist that Almunia is capable of doing the job.
Though it's been only two games, Shay Given has watched Joe Hart perform miracles in each. It's unlikely Given, at age 34 and desperate to win a trophy before calling time on his career, will be content to sit on Manchester City's bench for very long. But it is equally unlikely Roberto Mancini would sell him to the likes of Arsenal, a top-4 rival. With the window rapidly closing, I for one wouldn't be surprised if Shay is stuck on the bench until the January transfer window, at which time City would be more willing to let him go.
Also performing heroics through two games has been Fulham youngster David Stockdale. His penalty save from Nani, among other brilliant stops, helped earn a point against Manchester United, in a performance that has some at the Cottage thinking he may already be capable of taking over full-time from Schwarzer. But that's a tough ask of a 24-year-old with just three league appearances to his name.
We'll know how it will all play out soon enough. As is often the case with 'hot' transfer rumors, I won't be surprised if nothing at all ends up happening; but Given and Schwarzer, if they don't go now, will almost certainly be off in January.
EDIT: Stockdale is a surprise inclusion in Fabio Capello's latest England squad.