Belfast Telegraph

Wenger confirms Lehmann will sign

Jens Lehmann will sign for Arsenal for the rest of the season, manager Arsene Wenger confirmed on Thursday.

With Lukasz Fabianski sidelined until the end of the season because of a shoulder problem and Wojciech Szczesny suffering an injured finger during the Champions League defeat to Barcelona, Manuel Almunia has been left as the only fit senior keeper within the Gunners squad.

Given Vito Mannone, who also has first-team experience, has been hampered by a thigh problem while on loan at Hull, Gunners boss Wenger has elected to ask Lehmann to come out of retirement and return to the club he left in 2008. Wenger confirmed: "Lehmann is training with us and will sign for the rest of the season."

He added: "We have no cover in the Premier League, so that is why I decided to bring Jens back. He has not signed, but it [a contract] has been agreed."

Lehmann, 41, played for two seasons at Stuttgart before hanging up his gloves and has since worked in the German media.

The veteran made almost 200 appearances for the Gunners - with whom he won the Premier League title in 2003/2004 as part of the Invincibles side - and has been in regular touch with Arsenal, where he had been set to work on coaching badges.

Lehmann, who would be signed as a free agent, could be in contention to make the squad for Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to struggling West Brom.

Arsenal, though, have plenty of injury worries, with centre-half Thomas Vermaelen not expected to play again this season following his recovery from an Achilles problem, while Johan Djourou is set for around six weeks out with a dislocated shoulder.

Captain Cesc Fabregas remains sidelined by a hamstring injury this weekend, as does Theo Walcott (ankle) and Wenger said there was "no chance" he would feature for England next week.


From Belfast Telegraph