David Ospina's Arsenal future plunged into further doubt as links to Turkey move intensify

James Benge
In doubt: Ospina could be set to leave Arsenal this summer: Arsenal FC via Getty Images

David Ospina’s future at Arsenal has been thrown into further doubt after he was quoted by reporters in Turkey as saying he was open to a move to Istanbul.

As Standard Sport first revealed in February 2016, the Colombian international has found his limited playing time behind Petr Cech to be a cause of frustration and believes he could be a regular starter elsewhere.

Ospina started all eight of Arsenal’s Champions League matches this season and missed just one of the club’s FA Cup ties. However his two Premier League opportunities only came as a result of an calf injury to Cech.

An abdominal problem also sidelined Ospina for the 3-0 win over West Ham on Wednesday and third-choice goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez is expected to start when Arsenal travel to Crystal Palace on Monday.

The 28-year-old has been a target for two of Istanbul’s biggest clubs, Fenerbahce and Besiktas, since at least last summer and speculation in Turkey has intensified in recent days.

Ospina appears to have done little to cool those rumours and was quoted by daily newspaper Milliyet as saying: “Istanbul may be a new adventure and motivation for me.

“If my club are persuaded, it’s okay for me.”

While Arsene Wenger would be reluctant to lose a goalkeeper of Ospina’s quality they would not wish to keep the player against his will. With his contract due to run until 2020 the Gunners could also hope to make a decent profit on the £3million they paid Nice for him in the summer of 2014.

Wenger has also been impressed by the form of Martinez, who kept a clean sheet but was largely untested in victory over West Ham.

The Arsenal manager has spoken glowingly of Martinez and dismissed rumours of interest in Manchester City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart, currently on loan at Torino, in February by insisting he has “three world-class goalkeepers”.

Martinez, confined to EFL Cup duty before Wednesday’s game, has also had opportunities to leave Arsenal but Wenger has encouraged him to stay and fight for his place.

The 24-year-old spent time on loan at three Championship clubs between 2013 and 2016 but is now deemed ready to be a part of Wenger’s first-team squad.

Arsenal are also likely to rank among the suitors for Jordan Pickford in the summer. The 23-year-old Sunderland goalkeeper viewed as a potential long-term replacement for Cech, 34, who has not been entirely consistent in his second season at the Emirates.

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