Saturday, January 5, 2008

Jens Lehmann Free To Leave Arsenal

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has stated that Jens Lehmann is free to leave the Gunners during the transfer window, but maintains that the veteran stopper has not yet decided on his future.

Rumors had it that Borussia Dortmund, the player's former club, were set to announce Lehmann's signing yesterday, but the day passed with little transfer movement of note, and Lehmann still at Arsenal.

"When I extended the contract for Jens, I opened the door that if he does not play [for us] and has a chance to play in the European Championships, then I would not stop him from leaving in January," said Wenger. "If he does not play, that means somebody else can get in front of him.

"I have heard that Dortmund made a press conference and they did not announce Jens but they are hopeful. The door is not closed for Jens, but at the moment we have not reached any agreement. I do not even believe he has made his mind up.

"He still thinks he should play, and I respect that. On one side you cannot want a player to give 100 per cent every day to be the best and then accept he is not the best. They do not work together.

"But what I respect the most is he is a player who comes in and does his job 100 per cent and does not talk too much. That is what he does at the moment."

Personally, I'm not too sure about that last part. Lehmann lost his first-choice place in large part due to the fact that he could not stop criticizing Manuel Almunia, and even at times Wenger himself.

I am keen to see the club cash in on the German. He performed well for Arsenal in past seasons, and I commend him for that, but his recent dip of form, in conjunction with his volatile personality makes me hope that he leaves sooner rather than later.